In Japan, lawmakers passed what’s now known as the “metabo law” in 2008. It is not a country you normally associate with obesity. In fact, the OECD ranks Japan with only 3% population obesity – one of the least obese developed countries.
Compare this with Australia that has around 60% of Australian adults classified as overweight or obese. More than 25% of these fell into the obese category – that’s 3.3 million Australians.
But a growing concern in Japan over the spiralling health costs of an ageing population – which would only be greater if afflicted by metabolic syndrome – caused the Government to act.
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of such symptoms as problems with cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. It is likely to eventually lead to a stroke, heart attack and diabetes.
The Japanese policy, called ‘Metabo law’ is, in theory, simple – stay below a government-mandated waistline or face the consequences.
It is policed through an annual mandatory check up of the waist measurements of 40-75 year-olds – that’s over 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.