In Manchester, Britain’s third largest city with half a million people, residents will begin carrying electronic tracking tags that log how far they run or cycle each day. The tag will even help track how many calories residents burn. Those who hit the running trail every morning will be rewarded with coupons at stores and even days off work.

Although this new program may sound a bit Orwellian, in Manchester and eight other towns throughout England the British government is banking on it to help rein in the nation’s obesity problem.

In an announcement this week, the British government designated the nine “healthy towns” where commercial marketing techniques and training programs will be used in the battle to trim the public’s waistline.

With this new program, Britain joins the ranks of governments around the world trying to fight rapidly rising obesity rates. Expanding waistlines have become such an international problem, health experts have coined the term “globesity,” to describe the epidemic.

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