A controversial competition is offering a member of the public the chance to earn £10,000 if they agree to put on five stone and lose it again in six months.
The company behind the scheme plans to set the person up with a personal trainer to lose the weight in order ‘to demonstrate that losing a considerable amount of weight can be done in a short time frame.’
But the competition has been criticised by doctors and nutritionists, who say that contestants taking part could be putting their health at risk.
A controversial competition is offering a member of the public the chance to earn £10,000 if they agree to put on five stone and lose it again in six months (stock image)
It is being run by website Bark.com, which connects customers with local service professionals. The chosen person will be required to put on five stone in three months then lose it in the same amount of time.
The person chosen will be required to eat an extra 3,500 calories a day approximately in the three month ‘weight gain’ period. They will be given a 5 per cent advance of the £10,000 at the start of the process and will receive the remaining balance once they’ve successfully lost the weight at the end of the six months.
But Dr Hannah Fenn, from London, said: ‘Five stone is a substantial amount of weight. If they pick someone with a low BMI then putting on five stone is bad enough. But if you’re already overweight and you put on another five stone then you will be at a higher risk of health problems.
‘Losing that weight in just three months is really quick – it’s definitely not healthy to lose it that rapidly. Studies have shown that even if you’re only overweight for three months it will still have an affect on your sugar and cholesterol, putting you at risk of heart disease and diabetes.
The competition has been criticised by doctors and nutritionists, who say that contestants taking part could be putting their health at risk
‘Theoretically you could definitely be at risk of getting stretch marks from gaining and losing weight so quickly. Normally, if someone has a binge week and eat more than usual they don’t always put on weight – it takes your body a while to gain weight.
‘It would be quite difficult to gain that amount of weight in three months – you’d have to reduce physical activity too to put on five stone in such a short space of time.’
Qualified nutritionist and life coach Geeta Sidhu-Robb added: ‘Gaining weight too fast and in an uncontrolled manner can also result in excess visceral fat accumulation, coronary artery disease and long term nutritional deficiencies. It affects your hormones too.
‘Ultimately, weight loss and gain should be carefully planned and carried out in a safe way. You should always be looking to consult your doctor or a qualified nutritionist before embarking on a dramatic weight loss or weight gain journey. Losing a few pounds per week is the recommended rate.”
A spokesman for Bark said: ‘The candidate must be over 18 years old and able to attend PT sessions at least five times a week. They must be willing to do whatever it takes and capable of completing all types of activities, such as cycling, swimming and boxing.
‘The individual will be required to eat an extra 3,500 calories a day approximately in the three month ‘weight gain’ period. However, this will be dependent on their body type, height, gender and age, which will be assessed at the start. The process will be completed in a safe manner under the supervision of the candidates GP and a Bark.com personal trainer.
‘The successful candidate will be required to have a check-up at their doctors prior to putting on weight to ensure they are healthy to do so. If their GP does not agree they are physically or emotionally fit to take on this challenge, Bark.com has the right to terminate the contract immediately.’
Kai Feller, co-founder of Bark.com, said: ‘It’s no secret that obesity is a real problem in this country. Much of the problem is that people put on weight easily but don’t know where to start when it comes to losing it. We have some incredible personal trainers onsite from across the UK and hope this project will demonstrate how attainable losing a large amount of weight is with the right advice, support and dedication.
‘This is a life changing opportunity for someone to gain invaluable health and nutrition knowledge, get fit and earn a considerable amount of extra cash in the process.’
A quarter of British adults are now obese, meaning they have a Body Mass Index of 30 or more. For a 6ft man, that equates to a weight of about 16.5st.
Since 1993, the number of morbidly obese Britons – those who have a BMI of 40 or more – has skyrocketed from 350,000 to 1.5 million, according to a briefing paper published earlier this year by the House of Commons Library.