Tackling weight loss in Japan

OK, to everyone who has criticised me for coming down heavy on larger people – just be pleased you don’t live in Japan.

Japan has become increasingly concerned with the surge in obesity, due in whole to a westernised lifestyle – too much fat, and not enough exercise. As the New York Times reports the government has decided to do something about it.

The new state-prescribed limit for male waistlines is a strict 33.5 inches. For females it’s 2.0 inches more.

…companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population…

The onus goes onto the company or local government to ensure the employees lose the weight. And if they don’t then financial penalties are imposed.

…the ministry also says that curbing widening waistlines will rein in a rapidly aging society‚Äôs ballooning health care costs, one of the most serious and politically delicate problems facing Japan today…

Ah, the good sense of the Japanese. Preventive measures!

Even I concede this might be is an extreme measures. But you have to hand it to the Japanese – they never do anything by halves.

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