Secretary of the Nutrition Society
While the media glamorizes small waists, the society praises it, and nutritionists relate it to good health, in Japan it’s the law. Tokyo law-makers have set a maximum waist size, in other words they’ve passed a law against being fat! Being an indicator of obesity and a precursor to a number of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, the government has decided to save money in its healthcare by imposing waist circumference standards. In Japan, if you’re 40 or older and have a waist circumference of more than 90 centimeters (33.5 inches) for men and 80 centimeters (35.4 inches) for women, you’re in trouble.
While there has been no agreement that this strategy will work, residents aren’t taking risks. They’ve been eating less, exercising more and going on all sorts of funky medications to avoid the consequences of have a waistline too wide. Discounted gym memberships and special diet plans are some of the ways that companies are encouraging their employees to lose it; all to pass annual check-ups and avoid the payments required if they don’t reduce the number of overweight employees by 10% by 2012 and by 25% by 2015.
Imagine a Japanese person in your head, it is very unlikely that you imagine someone who is overweight. Well, this positive stereotype that we have is well supported by statistics because the rate of obesity in Japan: 5% - one of the lowest in the world and negligible as oppose to a soaring 35% in the US.
Curious to know if you’d pass the law in Japan? Well here are some easy steps that you could follow at home.
- 1) Locate the top of your hipbone and the bottom of your ribcage and find the midpoint
- 2) Wrap the a tape measure gently -without squeezing- around your waist at that point – don’t suck in your stomach.
- 3) Get someone to do the reading for you, it might be uncomfortable to do it yourself
While you’re at it, measure your hip circumference – place the measuring tape around the widest area of your buttocks without squeezing and take the reading. You can use those to find your wait/hip ratio which is a measure of body fat distribution. You’re on the safe side if your ratio is 1.0 or less if you’re a man and 0.8 or less if you’re a woman.
We’ve all heard our elders say "الرجال بدون كرش مثل الملك بدون عرش والبيت بدون عفش والجيب بدون قرش", but the risk of disease does really increase when the excess weight is localized around the waist- more than anywhere else. Bottom line: great haste in food choices makes a great waist, so do the right thing and keep that “كرش” to the minimum.URL: http://blogs.bliss.com/blissful/page/3/