DUBAI // Slimmers are being given the chance to lose weight and help malnourished children at the same time.
For every kilo they lose, Dh3 - the price of a kilo of fortified flour - will be donated to the United Nations food aid agency to feed children in Syria and Yemen.
The scheme, called Global Balance, was launched yesterday by the UN's World Food Programme and the UAE branch of VLCC, the international beauty and fitness company.
"We plan to make this programme regional in three months and then global," said Prafull Dwivedi, VLCC's business head for the Middle East.
Total weight loss at VLCC's 300 centres in the Middle East and South Asia averages 125,000kg a month. The target for the UAE is 6,000kg.
Monica Marshall, head of global partnerships at the WFP headquarters in Rome, said: "You've got high rates of malnutrition in Yemen, Syria and Egypt among children. So even if a third of the people are willing to make themselves healthier and help a child, then it's good."
According to the World Health Organisation, almost 2.8 million people die each year from complications of obesity while 870 million do not have enough food to lead an active lifestyle. Ninety-eight per cent of those live in developing countries.
"When the private sector gets involved, that's how we are able to address the huge gap between obesity and malnutrition," said Ms Marshall.
"We all have the responsibility to raise awareness and spread the word."