Need cash? Lose weight!

You're probably going to think that I'm making this up. In the northern Italy town of Varallo, Mayor Gianluca Buonanno is offering cash rewards to its citizens not only to lose weight, but to keep it off as well. (Associated Press)
"We wanted to encourage people to lose weight, and we thought that both the money and the idea of joining a group could be stimulating," Buonanno said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Participants in the week-old Varallo initiative will be given $67 when they reach their ideal weight. If they don't gain any weight back after five months, they will receive $268.

If they maintain their ideal weight for a year, they will get $670 more. So far, 30 of the townsfolk have signed up, Buonanno said.

It's an intriguing idea, but will it work? People say that money is motivating. But, to maintain your ideal weight for one year for approximately $1000? Will the combination of less weight, increased health, and cold hard cash be the secret to success?