Friday, June 13, 2008

Legal Limit Waistlines

Can you imagine your insurance company penalizing you if your waistline exceeded legal healthy limits? Or could you imagine your employer making you pay a higher premium on your health insurance because you had the dreaded, “Muffin-Top” or “Dunn-Lap Disease”? If any sort of legislation passed like that in the U.S there would be a raucous cheer thrown up by ever Paramedic with a bad back. But believe it or not…such legislation exists…in Japan. Yes in the land of tiny cell phones, Godzilla and scrumptious but creepy Geisha there is a policy that men and women between the ages of 40 and 74 had to meet a certain size in their waistline.

This article was found in the Asia-Pacific section of the New York Times and written by Norimitsu Onishi

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…

So Japan has figured out that fat people are costing them money with their sweaty necks and size 36 pants. But the real kicker is that there are people that are against this effort to save money and make the Japanese population healthier. However there are people who are against a healthy population.

critics say that the government guidelines — especially the one about male waistlines — are simply too strict and that more than half of all men will be considered overweight. The effect, they say, will be to encourage overmedication and ultimately raise health care costs.
Yoichi Ogushi, a professor at Tokai University’s School of Medicine near Tokyo and an expert on public health, said that there was “no need at all” for the Japanese to lose weight.
“I don’t think the campaign will have any positive effect. Now if you did this in the United States, there would be benefits, since there are many Americans who weigh more than 100 kilograms,” or about 220 pounds, Mr. Ogushi said. “But the Japanese are so slender that they can’t afford to lose weight.”

These people also probably believe that smoking is a great stress reliever. But anyway you dice it, Japan has the right idea. But you can read the article by clicking the link in the title. If we had a healthier population there would be cheaper health care and fewer deaths from over consumption. But hey that’s just my opinion.


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