In Japan, only about 3.5% of the population is classified as obese. Compare hat to rates as high as 30% or greater in countries like the U.S. And it’s not just a generally healthier diet and lifestyle that’s kept the Japanese trim.
Citizens must adhere to government-mandated waistline limits or face consequences. The government has established waistline limits for adults ages 40 to 74. Men must maintain a waistline at or below 33.5 inches; for women, the limit is 35.4 inches. The “metabo law” went into effect in 2008, with the goal of reducing the country’s overweight population by 25% by 2015.
Those who stray beyond the state-mandated waistlines are required to attend counseling and support sessions. Local governments and companies that don’t meet specific targets are fined, sometimes quite heavily.