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Metabo Law to decrease Japan’s obesity rates

In 2008 the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare introduced the ‘Metabo Law’ to decrease Japan’s obesity rates. The ‘Metabo law’ is, in theory, simple – stay below a government-mandated waistline of 85 cm for women and 90 cm for men or face the consequences. Employers and local government are responsible for the annual waist measurement check of 50 million Japanese aged between 40 and 74.

‘Metabo law’ comes from the phrase metabolic syndrome, and has replaced the word obesity. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of problems with cholesterol, triglycerides, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. It is likely to lead to a stroke, heart attack and diabetes eventually.

Individuals who fail their annual waist measurement check are required to attend a combination of counselling sessions, monitoring through phone and email correspondence, and motivational support. Also, if more than a certain percentage of employers employees are over-the-waist-limit, the employer is taxed. NEC, Japan’s largest maker of personal computers, says it may incur a fine of up to $19 million for failing to meet the waist-limit targets for its employees.