A recent national law has directed companies and governments to monitor the weight of employees and citizens between the ages of 40 and 74 during their annual medical evaluation. This exercise is slated to cover about 44% of the population.
Dietary advice and guidance would be given to those who have exceeded the limits set by the government, if they do not reach the prescribed weight limit and waistline measurement within 3 months. The waist measurements as per the limit are 85 centimeters for men and 89 centimeters for women.
The objective of the Japanese government is to assist 10% of overweight people and get them on track within 4 years and 25% within seven years, failing which the government has warned of strict action on the companies and the local government.
This plan has piqued critics who do not agree with the prescribed weight guidelines that make 50% of all men overweight, which will translate into increased health care costs.
Public health expert Yoichi Ogushi said, "I don't think the campaign will have any positive effect. Now, if you did this in the United States, there would be benefits, since there are many Americans who weigh more than 100 kilograms. But the Japanese are so slender that they can't afford to lose weight."