I almost fell off my chair when I read Raymond Gutierrez’ tweet: “@mondgutierrez being fat is now illegal in Japan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1hqHo6lyUU&feature=share”
Fat is out. No, this is a campaign tagline. It’s the law — Japan law.
In 2008, Japan’s Ministry of Health passed the ‘metabo’ law and declared war against obesity by measuring the country’s waistline. Their intent is to curb the rise of metabolic syndrome, a number of factors that lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease including obesity, high blood pressure, high glucose levels and cholesterol. By keeping metabolic syndrome in check, the government hopes to stall the ballooning health care costs of their aging population.
In recent decades, concerns over rising rates of obesity and related metabolic diseases in developing countries have increased. Many of these countries are witnessing a growing aging population with decreasing birth rates, foreshadowing a costly future for health systems faced with supporting the declining elderly without the backing of a youthful workforce. Management of chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension and other metabolic syndromes will compound these costs. Globally, current health policy is being re-examined and interventions to reduce the incidence of metabolic disease in the coming years are being implemented, but none are more radical than Japan’s ‘metabo law’, a law that requires men to maintain a waist line less than 33.5 inches and women less than 35.4 inches.