Obesity

Back Away From That Teriyaki With Your Hands Up!

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Is your waist size a 36? Better not be Japanese:

Non-compliance

Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, 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.  

Those exceeding government limits—33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are identical to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks—and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months.  

To reach its goals of shrinking the overweight population by 10 percent over the next four years and 25 percent over the next seven years, the government will impose financial penalties on companies and local governments that fail to meet specific targets. The country's Ministry of Health argues that the campaign will keep the spread of diseases like diabetes and strokes in check.  

Whole thing here; hat tip: Veronique de Rugy. Jacob Sullum wrote about "the totalitarian implications of public health" last May.

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  1. I have to ask – – is there a special exemption for professional athletes?

  2. I’ve heard sumos are extremely healthy, and probably would pass muster on the second part of the criteria.

  3. PIRS, I guarantee you sumos are exempt. The Japanese love them their sumo wrestling.

  4. I’ve got to say that the waist limits are pretty taut. And I can easily see someone getting “screwed” on the “weight-related ailments” criterion.

  5. 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women

    Don’t women generally have smaller waist than men? They get higher limits though?

  6. No slippery slope here folks. Nothing to see, nothing to see…move along, move along.

  7. Are these “annual checkups” required by law? If so, I’d say the Japanese are already 2/3 of the way to totalitarianism (Full disclosure: I stopped going to checkups when I figured out that all they did was weigh me and tell me I needed to lose weight. And then there was the time I complained about pains in my right shoulder, and they blamed it on my weight. I went to a different doctor and-guess what-it was an abcess. Nothing to do with my weight at all).

  8. HARDCORE
    The food nazis in the US and Europe are pussies beside these guys.

  9. :::stereotype alert I’m guessing this is more palatable in Japan because most East Asian cultures are based more on conformity and less on the Western ideal of wild individualism?

  10. Damn. I haven’t had a waist of 33.5 inches since, like, 6th grade. Even when I was in national level martial arts competition training four hours a day I was still around the 36 range.

  11. I went to a different doctor and-guess what-it was an abcess. Nothing to do with my weight at all

    haven’t had a waist of 33.5 inches since, like, 6th grade

    Ha ha, fatties.

  12. As others (Episiarch?) have noted on these pages in reference to smoking criminalization,

    Suck it up, fatties. It’s your turn.

  13. Ha ha, fatties.

    We prefer to be called endomorphs. 😉

  14. I wonder if that judge has that picture? ummmm

    EWWWWW

  15. 33.5 inches isn’t so bad when you’re what, 5’5″ like the typical Japanese man is…?

    All I know is my doorway-obstructing 225-pound frame would be written up in a hurry.

  16. As others (Episiarch?) have noted on these pages in reference to smoking criminalization,

    Suck it up, fatties. It’s your turn.

    That has indeed been me. I’d rather be saying “thanks for supporting us smokers, fatties”. But…they don’t like the smoke when they are wolfing down that plate of wings.

  17. That has indeed been me.

    Moral reasonoiods attempt attribution.

  18. 33.5 inches for men…

    They just want to to make their small Japanese cocks to look bigger in comparison. You know, like wearing black or horizontal stripes to look thinner or facial makeup to “de-emphasize” certain features.

    It’s all a sinister plot from the 4-inchers.

  19. 35.4 inches for women

    I demand a government plan to get that down to 22 or smaller.

  20. I’m just going to ignore the important part of the issue to focus on a minor pet peeve of mine for a moment:

    Why are waist size and BMI ever used to determine health when they can be so misleading? We have the technology to measure body fat percentage, a much better indicator, and it’s never used.

    This is how we end up with short athletic people who are declared overweight and in this case, anybody with a bigger-than-average skeletal frame (for Japan anyway) has the deck stacked against them.

    Sorry to hijack, back to fighting health fascism.

  21. Vomiting at the sight of fat people eating increases your risk of esophageal cancer.

  22. The office of boned corsets needs better staffing in Japan.

  23. Vomiting at the sight of fat people eating increases your risk of esophageal cancer.

    Damn! I already have acid reflux, and now I have to worry about this?
    I just can’t go out to eat anymore then, or to family reunions

  24. Reinmoose,

    I think there is a government plan in the works for you, no matter which Democrat gets elected.

  25. I think there is a government plan in the works for you, no matter which Democrat gets elected.

    Speaking of which, is the official liberal position:
    A. You shouldn’t discriminate against people who are fat – they can’t help it and it lowers their self esteem.
    B. We need government programs to make these people thinner.
    ?

  26. Vomiting at the sight of fat people eating increases your risk of esophageal cancer.

    I propose we institute a Ponderosa Tax.

    It’s time we’ve held Big Redneck-Buffet to account for their damaging the public health.

  27. Reinmoose,

    C. We need government programs. We can pay for it by fining people who discriminate against the mass challenged.

  28. Taxtix –
    You’re going to have to be more specific about how Ponderosa (and probably also the Golden Corral, although I’ve never been there) is damaging the public health.
    I can only assume you meant that there are lots of fat people eating there, causing us to vomit and increasing the likelihood of esophageal cancer. But if you were to say it was because they serve really fattening and poor quality food in large quantity, I would have to call it on not being funny, because I’m sure someone would take that as a serious proposal.

  29. Reinmoose,

    Thanks for matnioning Golden Corral. I was trying o remember that one when Ponderosa was mentioned.

    I have not been in a Ponderosa in decades, but the Golden Corral must be the mecca of spandex privelege violations in the Western world.

  30. Art-P.O.G. | June 13, 2008, 10:36am | #

    I’ve heard sumos are extremely healthy, and probably would pass muster on the second part of the criteria.

    IIRC, there was recently a news item that indicated that, once they retire, Sumo wrestlers have an extremely short life expectancy if they do not rapidly lose weight.

  31. Guy
    My grandmother goes out to eat practically every day and she’s on a first name basis with everyone at Old Country Buffet, except they call her “ma’am” (it’s the south) and compliment her on how young she looks. It’s a pretty scary place and I ususally do all I can to keep from going there when I go to visit, even if it means cooking all meals myself. We used to go to Ponderosa occasionally when I was growing up – G*d knows why – – I think my parents thought children would like having options of what to “try”, even though I wasn’t a picky eater?

    I’ve never been to a Golden Corral. I once almost called in to a radio station because I knew the answer to a contest they were having, but I hung up while it was ringing when I heard the prize was 2 passes to the Golden Corral.

  32. Don’t women generally have smaller waist than men? They get higher limits though?

    I was thinking the same thing. Maybe they figured it’s because women over age 40 are more likely to have had children and not regained their pre-pregnancy bodies?

  33. This is just the natural end result of socialism.

  34. IIRC, there was recently a news item that indicated that, once they retire, Sumo wrestlers have an extremely short life expectancy if they do not rapidly lose weight.

    Kinda like offensive linemen, huh? Once you’re no longer as active all of a sudden that size is a liability.

  35. My grandmother goes out to eat practically every day and she’s on a first name basis with everyone at Old Country Buffet, except they call her “ma’am” (it’s the south) and compliment her on how young she looks.

    Does she know how to weld?

  36. [Those]having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months.

    So … dare I ask what happens if these people don’t get their waistlines down to within government-approved parameters? Or if they resist being “steered” into re-education (what a creepy phrase) in the first place?

  37. Does she know how to weld?

    OK, I gotta admit this running gag leaves me completely nonplussed.

  38. Art-P.O.G.,

    It is not a gag. I totally dig chicks who can weld.

    Why must you be such a weldist?

  39. Guy –
    She can certainly not weld, sorry.

  40. I am certainly overweight. My doctor just mentions my weight but more talks to me about healthy things to do even if I don’t lose weight – I like him a lot.

    And some of us hate what they’ve done to smokers too.

  41. I totally dig chicks who can weld.

    ……………
    To each his own. FWIW, I totally dig chicks who are movie/comic geeks.

  42. Get rid of Sumo Man photo and bring back Lobster Girl or Bottle Cap Girl.

  43. I totally dig chicks who can weld.

    ……………
    To each his own. FWIW, I totally dig chicks who are movie/comic geeks.

    That makes me feel all normal – I mostly dig dancers (no-not THAT kind of dancer) and girls who are generally just really tallented at something.

  44. FWIW I like a chick who eats meat, can weld, can shoot (accurately), can identify (piston) airplanes and likes barrel rolls and hammerheads, can write, and type fast, earns more money than me, and do a bunch of stuff in bed (or wherever) – oops, other than the welding bit, I just described my wife!

  45. girls who are generally just really tallented at something.

    Smart, talented girls are totally better than…you know, the alternative.

  46. I mostly dig dancers

    … and she used to be a “real” dancer (not THAT kind) and now is just a patient one trying to teach me not to look like a geek balancing on a basketball when I dance.

  47. Smart, talented girls are totally better than…you know, the alternative.

    Paris Hilton?

  48. Paris Hilton?

    Perfect example.

  49. girls who are generally just really tallented at something.

    ’nuff said.

  50. The best way to achieve a healthy population is to change the design of society: work less, move more, eat better food.

  51. The best way to achieve a healthy population is to change the design of society: work less, move more, eat better food.

    You forgot to add deprive people of their right to liberty and self-determination.

  52. Get rid of Sumo Man photo and bring back Lobster Girl or Bottle Cap Girl.

    Newbie. I want Reason Pillow Girl, dammit!

  53. Don’t people smoke like fiends in Japan? I wonder why they targeted the fatties first while we targeted the smokers. Probably because of my long-held belief that anti-smoking is more about satisfying the complaints of non-smokers than health. And Americans most definitely complain more than Japanese.

  54. I think my waist would past muster, but I’ll have to lift my belly out of the way to get the tape around it. I know, I know. TMI!

  55. 36-36-36?
    Only if he’s 5’3″.

  56. Episiarch,
    I have never interfered with your right to smoke. Just because Rob Reiner is a huge fatass, doesn’t mean all of us fatasses should be grouped with him.

  57. Antiglobalist,
    Great, you go do that. Just don’t complain when I’m paid more than you.

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