Monday, June 23, 2008

Japan's Plan to Slim Down

Japan is trying a new approach to controlling the obesity epidemic - measuring the waists of people between the ages of 40 and 74. The new national law, which came into effect two months ago, is one of the most ambitious campaigns to slim people down.

The law requires companies and local governments to measure citizens' waists at their annual checkups. If men's waists measure more than 33.5 inches, or women's more than 35.4 inches, they will be given dieting guidance if they do not slim down within three months.

The country's overall goal is to decrease the overweight population by ten percent over the next four years, and 25 percent over the next seven years. Financial penalties will be imposed on companies and governments that fail to meet specific targets.

While I think it's great that Japan is concerned about the health of their citizens, I don't think it's their obligation to impose weight loss on the people who live there. Generally, people don't make changes because someone else tells them they need to. People make changes because they want to do it for themselves, for their own health.

I don't foresee this campaign being successful as far as losing weight and keeping it off. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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