People during the launch of on-site registration of the ‘Your Child in Gold’ campaign at Al Mamzar beach in Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: More than 1,300 people lined up on Tuesday night to enter a weight loss contest in Dubai that rewards gold for every kilo lost.

The ‘Your Child in Gold’ contest follows last year’s ‘Your Weight in Gold’ initiative by Dubai Municipality.

This year parents can register with children to combat early obesity and raise awareness on the disease.

Families will receive two grams of gold for every kilo lost – double the reward for individual participants.

Last year’s winner – a young Syrian who lost 26kg in roughly three weeks – won gold worth about Dh10,000.

More than 9,600 people had registered in 2013 and gold worth Dh2.8 million was awarded.

This year, the municipality is expecting 15,000 registrations.

More than 9,200 people have already registered online.

On Tuesday, many families were turned away as their children were not overweight, or even underweight in some cases, a municipality official said.

“Children must get medical advice from the nutritionists on sites prior to registering for the contest in order to confirm their fitness to participate,” said Waleed Al Shaibani, head of the Dubai Municipality Club and the campaign’s coordinator.

Parents are allowed to register up to two children under the age of 13. The first day of on-site enrolments saw about 220 people registering as families.

Most participants Gulf News spoke to said winning gold was not their only motivation.

“The ultimate aim is to lose weight and get healthy. I couldn’t participate last year because I’m a foodie,” said Areefin Babu, 28, an engineer from India.

Babu, who weighs 91kg, will try to lose 20kg in about 45 days.

Another said instead of snacking while watching TV at night, he will now exercise. “You have to have a goal, and competing in this initiative motivates you,” said Jason Espenueva, 31, a therapist from the Philippines.

Lack of exercise and fatty food is a recipe for obesity, said Munir Hamad, a medical doctor at the municipality.

“Obesity leads to many other diseases, like hypertension and diabetes. It’s a lifestyle disease and a problem all over the world. In rich countries like the UAE, people use cars; they don’t walk, don’t exercise enough,” Hamad said.

“We need to raise awareness. If we can give awareness to families now, especially children, it means less disease in the future.”

People who register on thedmgold.com are then weighed at registration tents set up in five different areas of Dubai. They will be weighed again after the health campaign ends on September 1.

The on-site registrations are open until July 24.

The registration timing is 9pm to 12am daily until July 24 at the five sites: Al Mamzar beach jogging track, Al Khawaneej jogging track gate 3, Safa Park gate 2, Zabeel Park gate 3, and Al Barsha Park main entrance.