Saturday, June 14, 2008

Continuing with our theme of people being fat, it emerges here that the average US American male has a waist size of 39 inches, or more than double the width of a standard home plate (17 inches), no pun intended. I have the waist size of an average Japanese female. A new law in Japan requires that 80% of people between 40 and 75 have their waists measured regularly. A man whose waist is over 33.5 inches or a woman whose waist is 35.4, thresholds indicating significant health risks, will be encouraged to lose weight by their employer or local government. Employers and local governments who do not reduce the number of overweight, or metabo, by 25 percent over the next seven years will be fined.

Whatever the health care costs of its aging population, it appears that Japan could have gone about this differently. This seems to go past the threshold of indecency and indignity. It would have been much more practical to target unhealthy behaviours such as Japan's very high rate of smoking. This is a news week where much-maligned America comes out looking better than Japan, after its Supreme Court ruled that its constitution still applies.

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