Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Japan Imposes "Fine On Fat"

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the fat-man-vs.-the-state dept.

Government 1271

An anonymous reader writes "A recently-introduced law in Japan requires all businesses to have mandatory obesity checks (video link) for all their employees and employees' family members over the age of 40, CNN reports. If the employee or family member is deemed obese, and does not lose the extra fat soon, their employer faces large fines. The legislated upper limit for the waistline is 33.5" for men, and 35.5" for women. Should America adopt universal health insurance, could we live to see the same kind of individual health regulations imposed on us by the government? By comparison, the average waistline in America in 2005 was 39 inches for men, 37 inches for women."

cancel ×

1271 comments

frosty piss. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916691)

if it gets rid of that fat fuck CowboyNeal, I'm all for it.

already here (5, Insightful)

Romancer (19668) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916705)

Do you smoke?
Do you drink?
Drug tests?

Any of this sound familiar in a survey from your insurance application or work orientation pack?

Re:already here (5, Insightful)

daveatneowindotnet (1309197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916859)

Agreed, to be honest this is just bad marketing by the Japanese government. They are being too honest. If they merely raised everyone's taxes and then offered tax relief to those who stayed below these requirements they would be seen as "helping" their citizens stay healthy. Side note, the article is being just rabble-rousing by comparing waistlines considering that Americans are so much taller on average than Japanese it makes sense that they would be proportionally larger in waist size.

Your fat costs me money (5, Insightful)

Brain-Fu (1274756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917147)

Even with private health insurance, those who live unhealthy lifestyles have the net effect of increasing insurance premiums for everyone.

The insurance companies maintain profitability by selecting price points that set them ahead, given all of the expenses they are likely to incur. The more fat people they have on their plans, the more likely they are to spend money on all the fat-related medical issues that arise, so the more they must charge.

While it may be unfair to target fat people (or smokers or drinkers or what-have-you), isn't it equally unfair to make healthy people pay a lot of extra money to support the unhealthy lifestyles of their neighbors?

As usual, this door swings both ways, and it doesn't matter whether the health care is universal or privatized...any kind of medical insurance raises these issues.

Re:already here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916929)

The difference is here in the land of the free (which i realize is being chiseled away at), those things only usually affect your rates, and coverage by that particular plan or insurer. You're still free to seek coverage elsewhere. If you smoke, drink, take drugs, and weight 500 pounds and can't get coverage by any privately held insurance company, you're eligible for federal assistance.

I think this is a bit different then employers being fined for having fat employees.

Re:already here (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917167)

AFAIK, drug testing has no impact on your medical insurance rates. If your piss comes back positive you may lose your job or suffer some form of disciplinary action depending on your employers policies but I don't think it has any direct relationship to your medical insurance. Ditto for drinking -- why they even bother to ask is beyond me -- I just lie and put down that I don't.

One does not follow the other... (4, Insightful)

nodrogluap (165820) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916707)

Should America adopt universal health insurance, could we live to see the same kind of individual
health regulations imposed on us by the government?

The question is specious: there are dozens of countries with public health care, but they don't have such crazy restrictions (including your neighbour, Canada). I chalk it up to a Japanese culture that accepts such a standard. And don't give me the fat-people-will-cost-me-more in a public system argument, because they are costing you more in a private system, unless fatter people at your work pay more for their insurance plan...

Re:One does not follow the other... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916783)

unless fatter people at your work pay more for their insurance plan...
Not yet. I expect that'll be the next step, right after they start imposing a 'junk food' tax.

Re:One does not follow the other... (4, Interesting)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916953)

I never understood why this was so unpopular. We tax the beejebus out of cigarretes because it is an easy way for politicians to raise taxes without making everyone mad. Eating tons of junk food over the course of your life isnt much better than smoking a pack a day.

I'm not saying I support a tax on junk food, but I cant see how people can support taxing lower income folks who go through a pack a day but not this.

Re:One does not follow the other... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917203)

but I cant see how people can support taxing lower income folks who go through a pack a day but not this

We should get rid of cigarette taxes altogether, IMHO. It's a great idea in theory but why the hell should the Government be regulating what I do with my body?

Re:One does not follow the other... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916955)

They already do this, but in the form of a discount for healthy people. If you pass an annual wellness screening (including BMI) you get 50 bucks off of your premium where I work now and my previous job.

Re:One does not follow the other... (3, Insightful)

b96miata (620163) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917037)

Am I the only one who sees the logical progression of insurance companies getting better and better ad predicting cost differentials, etc. and passing it on to the consumer just leading to insurance eventually costing the same as the care would have, plus a % overhead for all the people whose job it was to bill you?

Re:One does not follow the other... (5, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917151)

That's what happens when you buy "insurance" to cover every little thing.

Insurance should cover catastrophic, unforseeable events. You buy car insurance so that you have coverage if you get t-boned by a semi. You don't buy insurance to cover your oil changes. It would be absurd, and if everybody bought oil-change insurance it would drive the cost through the roof. Yet this is what everybody expects from health "insurance", and guess what happened, the costs got driven through the roof.

Re:One does not follow the other... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917045)

Life already imposes a junk food tax. Anyways, one is not necessary. The government just needs to stop subsidizing the production of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated food oil. Based on my personal experience, the former (HFCS) is actually more responsible for body size expansion than the latter. But that's just my own anecdotal dieting experience (it is easy, with will power, to cut out one kind of food ingredient from one's diet if one prepares one's own food and so long as the government mandates that that ingredient actually be listed).

Junk food tax? That's a GREAT idea. (3, Interesting)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917129)

A junk food tax sounds like an INCREDIBLY good idea.

Increasing the cost of obesity reduces obesity. We don't know how much it would, but studies from cigarette taxes show that increases costs decrease consumption of even highly desirable things.

Obesity increases fuel consumption -- the obese eat more (more food transport and production fuel use) and weigh more (more transport costs in themselves). They eat 18% more, according the Lancet. The Lancet goes on to suggest that reducing obesity would reduce global warming.

And yes, their health care costs us -- we should be getting some of that back.

A small tax (in stores, vending machines and restaurants) on foods which digest quickly seems like a FANTASTIC idea. Not a big deal for someone that eats a few Snickers bars every month, but a noticeable pain for someone who eats them every day.

Re:Junk food tax? That's a GREAT idea. (5, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917235)

"We don't know how much it would, but studies from cigarette taxes show that increases costs decrease consumption of even highly desirable things."

So fewer and fewer people are getting what they desire, because other anonymous people don't desire it and would like to force them into a position where they can't afford their desires! What an idiotic and indefensible notion.

"Obesity increases fuel consumption -- the obese eat more (more food transport and production fuel use) and weigh more (more transport costs in themselves)."

If they can afford the food, who's to tell them they should be allowed to eat it. What happened to "life, liberty, pursuit of happiness"?

"And yes, their health care costs us -- we should be getting some of that back."

Only if you choose to be part of the system. The difference between that and a publicly-funded system is that you have no choice.

"A small tax..."

It is not the size that matters. Forcibly taking away someone's productivity (in the form of money) is no different from theft.

Re:One does not follow the other... (2, Interesting)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916939)

"The question is specious: there are dozens of countries with public health care, but they don't have such crazy restrictions"

It's only specious by your definition of "crazy", which conveniently excludes the extensive property and privacy rights violations that come with government-run healthcare (or government-run anything). You have no choice not to be part of the system. Don't want healthcare? Would rather keep your productivity and use it elsewhere? Don't want to pay for others' healthcare or have a committee determine how your money should best be used? "Too bad. Move if you don't like it" - that is the common response.

Re:One does not follow the other... (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917241)


Id like it if most of my tax money wasn't used to fund a war in Iraq, but we don't all get what we want.

Re:One does not follow the other... (2, Informative)

JerryLove (1158461) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917011)

I was going to point out the same specious comment... an attempt to falsely tie the two together.

That said, an arbitrary number on wasit-line is a silly way to determine "obesity". It would allow for small, fat people to be in spec, while large not-fat people (what is Lou Farigno's waist? Michael Jordan?) to be out.

Re:One does not follow the other... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917039)

Also remark that in this law, the employer is responsible, not the particular person. I guess that is because in Japan many employees eat at their company restaurant for lunch and sometime dinner as well.

Re:One does not follow the other... (1, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917049)

"because they are costing you more in a private system"

Only if I choose to voluntarily give my money in exchange for insurance. In a public system, I have no choice but to pay for fat people's services. In a private system, I have a choice.

Re:One does not follow the other... (1)

feed_me_cereal (452042) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917069)

I think that's true, but I think it's also true that the government would become more involved in people's health and I don't think this is always a bad thing. For instance, trans fats [bantransfats.org] , (largely) man-made fats which are known to wreak havoc on your cholesterol levels and are suspected in other common health problems with little benefit other than higher melting point and longer shelf life (thus cheaper processed foods) are beginning to be banned in european countries with universal healthcare as well. Some astroturfers, like the center for consumer freedom [wikipedia.org] cry foul, but there's really no reason for these fats to be around other than to save a little money. This is one of the best times for the government to come in and ban it, but considering a ban would seriously diminish campaign contributions, they're going to need an even bigger reason to go through with one. When the government is financially interested in preventing people from dying early in hospitals, everyone but the food industry wins.

Re:One does not follow the other... (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917153)

How about if I want to eat foods high in trans-fats? Now I have to move to another country?!

Or are you saying I should not get to choose what I eat?

Hard to translate to America (2, Interesting)

spineboy (22918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917213)

Americans are taller than the Japanese, and thus even relatively thinner people can have a larger waistline, and be considered fat. A better measurement, or goal might be percentage body fat or BMI (Cue the BMI holy wars of body builders).

Yes, obese people (and smokers) take more sick time, have more health expenses, lower productivity, etc. I'm a physician, and public health is one of the courses we take, so obesity and smoking related problems a are HUGE percentage of health dollars spent.

Now as far as BMI - it does not measure fat - let me repeat that- it DOES NOT measure fat, merely the relative weight to height. People in the ideal range tend to live longer. People outside the ideal range, be it fat or huge amounts of muscle, tend not to live as long (strain on the heart, kidneys, joints, etc).

I think it's only a matter of time before health insurance companies, and the government figure out that these obese people are not profitable/cost too much, and will penalize them accordingly.

In terms of public health, I think this is a good thing, as it will save a significant amount of money, and produce better health. I am also a big fan of free will, and independence, so if someone wants to be really fat, or smoke, then they should be able to - at a price.

Hmmm... (2, Funny)

antic (29198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916713)

Definitely sounds like a big problem.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Miltazar (1100457) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916825)

Sounds like instead of doing any real good, it just be yet another excuse to discriminate against a certain type of person. If your company gets fined for employing fat people, then the obvious solution is not to employ them. That sounds like such a draconian law. I'm sure its got to do with Japanese culture, and I am hoping that it never gets bad enough over here to institute such a bad law. Whats next, fined for having glasses that are too thick?

Re:Hmmm... (2, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916973)

Don't fine them, just announce extra holidays in really small print.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917083)

"Sounds like instead of doing any real good, it just be yet another excuse to discriminate against a certain type of person. If your company gets fined for employing fat people, then the obvious solution is not to employ them."

Unless your company also gets fined even more if they are found to discriminate against workers that are overweight or obese.

TFV talks about the steps that NEC is taking to encourage healthy habits in workers. That's the kind of response that this sort of law would ideally produce. You can engineer an environment to keep people healthier or not. This law has the potential to force employers hands in making environments more healthy which benefits the employers (less sick days, more productive employees), the employees (improved health), and the national health program of Japan (I'm not going to pay a lot for this muffler).

Sumo Wrestlers? (5, Funny)

Rendo (918276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916717)

What about the sumo wrestlers?! Don't they get a say!?

wow.. seriously? (4, Insightful)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916737)

While "big boned" is a complete cop out, there are people with naturally larger waists... or worse yet, hormonal/glandular issues...

Re:wow.. seriously? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916823)

I'm sure that the fine upstanding intelligent bureaucrats will take into account any possible health related reasons for being over the limit. Yeah, that;s the ticket.

Re:wow.. seriously? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916839)

Yeah, true. But even for people that are very obese, do we really want the government involved. I personally don't want the government involved in this sort of thing.

Re:wow.. seriously? (-1, Troll)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916927)

Dude, 1998 called, they want their anti-government mantra back.

Re:wow.. seriously? (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917157)

It's never out of style to oppose the nanny-state. Only foolish hippies think the gov't should take care of everybody.

Re:wow.. seriously? (2, Informative)

SithGod (810139) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916863)

Even when I'm in good shape, I'm a 34 inch waist at best and still over 200 pounds. Setting arbitrary standards like this are completly pointless

Bullshit (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916889)

or worse yet, hormonal/glandular issues.

...and if it's serious enough to impact your long-term health, you should get those "hormonal/glandular issues" looked at. If the doctor says, "there's nothing we can do about it", fine...

Re:Bullshit (1)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917133)

I know someone who has a thyroid issue. She is an exercise buff, and does physical training for a living. She recognized something was wrong when she started lacking energy and was putting on weight, despite her diet and exercise routine. Now, she receives treatment that supposedly puts her in what is considered the normal range for her hormones. Although she's better than she was, she still has more weight than one would expect for someone who eats and exercises like she does. So, the therapy helps, but it's not the same as when your body does it on it's own properly.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Xeldar (1278714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917211)

I love the whole "hormonal/glandular problem" argument. If there were such a "problem" that caused people to produce fat without that person actually overeating, then the world's energy problem would be solved. We just get all the people who have these magic glands and have them produce fat cells from thin air. There are already engines that run off of grease/fat, so it shouldn't be too hard to switch to human fat as our main fuel source.

Re:wow.. seriously? (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916921)

Well, too much in this country is made about BMI [nhlbisupport.com] . If you're 6 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds you can be a chubby guy or a really fit guy or somewhere in between, but regardless the government classifies you as "overweight". You need to set a standard for health that doesn't deal with weird metrics like "waist size" or "body mass index".

Re:wow.. seriously? (1, Insightful)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917113)

Except that waist size has been shown to have a high correlation for people at risk for heart attack. So yes Virginia waist size is a valid metric.

Re:wow.. seriously? (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917173)

Shoe size can be trivially shown to correlate strongly with better reading comprehension in children.

Because children with bigger shoes are also older.

Finding correlation in a large population tells you nothing about an individual. Large waist sizes could very well be highly correlated with risk for heart disease but an individual could still be healthy with a large waist due to his natural body shape.

Re:wow.. seriously? (2)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917117)

If you're 6 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds you can be a chubby guy or a really fit guy or somewhere in between, but regardless the government classifies you as "overweight". You need to set a standard for health that doesn't deal with weird metrics like "waist size" or "body mass index".
When I hit the gym more vigorously, I had several body Fat tests run using a variety of methods, All were in rough agreement, that at 0% body fat (ie dead, 15% is normal, with marathon runners typically in the 7-9% range) I was still "overweight" by those insurance company charts, even rounding my height up. As I recall, the military has also run into similar problems, with body builders hitting the "obese" mark despite body fat ranges in the 5% area

Problem is body fat measures aren't accurate enough to draw a line with (25% body fat pays more) when they can vary by 3-6% pretty easily.

Re:wow.. seriously? (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916965)

But after a few decades of selectively blocking certain people from making a living (obviously this means that companies won't hire people that are large in size) the problem will go away. Only the eloi I mean skinny people will be left and the companies will make sure that if one of the eloi I mean skinny people happen to get to large they will be fired. Evolution will take care of the rest. Obese people will be rounded up and herded into fat camps and starved to death.

Of course I wonder what happens when a women gets pregnant? Based on the rules the company would be fined if they let her stay on the job. So the best practice is going to be to fire the pregnant women and hope that after the kid is born they get back to their working size very quickly in the hopes that someone will rehire them.

Re:wow.. seriously? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916997)

We're talking about Japan here. You won't find many people over 5 foot 7 there, and certainly no "ghetto booty"s. A 33.5" waistline is probably pretty generous there, relatively speaking, even for the larger members of the population.

Re:wow.. seriously? (1)

jfsimard79 (1303437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917105)

Actually 'cop out' is an admission of guilt, not an excuse.

Someone has been reading F.Paul Wilson (5, Informative)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916757)

http://billstclair.com/DoingFreedom/000623/df.0600.fa.lipidleggin.html [billstclair.com] Written in 1978...scary and well worth reading (it's a short story, won't take long to read)

Re:Someone has been reading F.Paul Wilson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917097)

He must have imagined what it will be like under a long period of rule by the Democrats.

Is /. == Digg now? (-1, Offtopic)

bwhaley (410361) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916759)

I sure hope not. I stopped reading Digg precisely because of stories like this. How about keeping idle.slashdot.org independent from the front page?

Stupid (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916761)

Well wow, that's just dumb. Didn't they read that smokers and fat people cost the government less thank skinny people? [iht.com] . The study was done by the Dutch, and their healthcare is mandatory private (like people are talking about for the US) supplemented by socialized healthcare for people who are elderly or unable to otherwise function, so I'd think they'd have a pretty good idea of what the costs are.
_
Sure, the smokers and fat people have more health problems, but they have the decency to drop dead and not linger on the government dime, senile and incontinent, for a few extra decades.
_
I try to keep healthy, but when I hit the point where I'm not enjoying life much any more, I'm eating whatever the hell I want, taking up heroin. I'll be mainlining viagra II, and having sex with the kind of scary women that'd have sex with me! You see these articles coming out of Florida about old guys getting arrested for trying to buy drugs, just for the hell of it, and I don't understand what the problem is. This society is so fricking weird; god forbid you threaten your own ability to live to 110.
_
Life is one of those things where it's really about quality, not quantity. //Sorry about the stupid dashes. Goddamn system isn't taking my paragraph breaks.

Minimum Female Bust Line (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916767)

So, when do they extend this to a minimum female bust line?

If you don't have at least a 34C, your employer provided insurance will mandate a boob job.

I'm thinking the gov't inspector position on that law will be a highly coveted spot.

Re:Minimum Female Bust Line (4, Funny)

kirbysuperstar (1198939) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916931)

Well, if manga/anime is anything to go by, all Japanese women are already D-H cups anyway.

Re:Minimum Female Bust Line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917027)

Of course (3, Insightful)

Dave Tucker Online (1310703) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916785)

Once the government is in charge of health care, they have a responsibility to manage every part of your life which effects your health. You may only eat and drink healthy products. No more smoking. Safe cars only. No motorcycles! These will all be necessary to combat the increased cost that government control of health care will create.

Re:Of course (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916977)

Once the government is in charge of health care, they have a responsibility to manage every part of your life which effects your health.

Hmm. So my health insurance company currently has responsibility to manage every part of my life which effects my health? If not, why does that necessarily change if the state or federal government becomes my health insurance company? Does the government currently have responsibility to manage every health-relevant part of the lives of people on Medicare and Medicaid?

Or, are you just full of it?

These will all be necessary to combat the increased cost that government control of health care will create.

Sorry, but single payer makes heath care cheaper than a for-profit system, as there are no parasitic investors taking money out of the system.

Please use metric system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916793)

Thanks

Re:Please use metric system (1)

Ciarang (967337) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917199)

Royale with Cheese?

Foreign workers? (4, Interesting)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916819)

Does this apply to foreign workers? For instance, if I were to go work in Japan for a year or two after I'm 40, would my employer be fined if I didn't shrink my 37 to a 33.5?

Re:Foreign workers? (1)

jcgf (688310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917141)

I was wondering the same thing (except I'm not quite 40 yet). I wear a 38" waist but am 6'5" tall, and am referred to with all of the unflattering terms for "thin". Do I still need to loose weight?

Big Brother? (1)

Rixel (131146) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916821)

The term Big Brother comes to mind for some reason.

Re:Big Brother? (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916891)

"Big Blother" comes to mine. [Ducks]

Re:Big Brother? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916915)

Is the reason that this is Slashdot, where 1984 is pulled out in every single discussion about anything that has to do with the government?

Re:Big Brother? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917065)

Likely it's because the fears engendered by that book have become real. Worse, there are many that are either in denial about that fact, or have succumbed to being tools of a fascist society. Now stop reading /. and conform. It is your destiny.

Re:Big Brother? (2, Informative)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917181)

Are you sure you read the same 1984 I read? Cause pretty much nothing in there is real even now, aside from the paranoia you and others who think it is happening seem to exhibit.

Re:Big Brother? (1)

iworm (132527) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917075)

Now to be known in Japan as "Nicely Proportioned Brother".

Fat? (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916843)

They are stopping people being as big as a whale?

Re:Fat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916905)

That's because it avoids confusion with regards the nations pastime [wikipedia.org] . The industry would be forced to move on shore.

What about sumo wrestling? (4, Insightful)

tdvaughan (582870) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916849)

I had the impression this sport was hugely popular over there (got that from reading Freakonomics). Will they make an exception for wrestlers?

Re:What about sumo wrestling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917119)

I had the impression this sport was hugely popular over there (got that from reading Freakonomics). Will they make an exception for wrestlers?

Headline from the future: "Japanese have a huge increase in amateur Sumo Wrestlers. "

Is this the end... (1, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916851)

of Sumo? :(

Weird if it's true. (4, Interesting)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916857)

How can you have a single upper-limit on waist sizes? Are all people in Japan the same height or are short people allowed to be fatter than tall ones?

And how is the employer really responsible for their employees' weight? OK sure, there's going to be a bit of correllation between the general health attitude at your job and your own weight and from what I understand there's more of a culture for this thing in Japan but it still seems like a big leap to make in what a company is responsible for and subsequently what an employee has to answer to his employer about. Can constantly fat people be fired for costing their company too much in fines?

actually (5, Funny)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917051)

Are all people in Japan the same height?

Yes they are. Deviants are stretched or squashed as needed, and beaten for their insolence.

Re:Weird if it's true. (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917123)

The scary thing is, there are already employers in the USA who do a similar thing! I was just reading about an insurance company in the U.S. that started requiring regular health checkups, and penalizing people who were overweight.

The general attitude of the employees seemed to be surprisingly accepting of the whole thing, too. There were comments along the lines of, "Well, it's probably a good thing. It gives me the motivation I needed to watch my weight."

Granted, this is far different than it being instituted as policy on a national level ... but it's a leap that could be taken in one big stride, if the majority of Americans become that complacent and willing to let go of their individual freedom. (Your own BODY SIZE/SHAPE seems like an awfully personal thing to let OTHERS dictate for you!)

Oh please... (3, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916879)

"Fine on fat" has nothing to do with universal health coverage. It has everything to do with bad policy and even worse laws (not to mention stupid lawmakers).

There are tons of countries in the world today with universal health coverage who don't engage in that kind of stupid law making.

Then again, it is mostly accepted these days that being overweight is bad for you, in all kind of different ways, so maybe a tax on fat is not such a bad idea, especially if human fat is recycled into bio-fuel [dailymail.co.uk] . Fight Club, anyone?

Besides, wait until they apply this law to the sumotori [scgroup.com] ... and the howls of outrage from the sumo-loving japanese public... :-)

Dammit! (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916919)

Watashi wa rikishi desu, you insensitive clod!

Face Value (4, Insightful)

Zelocka (1152505) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916923)

I don't think this has anything to do with people being overweight at its core. This is more likely an anti western culture move to try to stop Japan from becoming more like America. There have been similar proposals made to try to make western style toilets more expensive so they will not be commonly used. Older Japanese are generally worried that Japan is losing its culture and that tends to lead to strange laws made in an attempt to stop the so called slide. The law itself is rather stupid idea though and I don't think it's likely to be in place 5 years down the road unless the penalty is a lot lighter than it sounds at face value.

Re:Face Value (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917109)

so basically its like France.... Part Duex! Where as France has a whole ministry of language to prevent western influences over their language.

Not a shock, even after all this time Japan is a VERY isolationist society.

Sumo Wrestlers??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916945)

Does this apply to them too?

If yes, then America, we can finally defeat Japan in Sumo wrestling with Larry the cable guy.

A more darwinist approach (4, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916947)

How about some kind of mandatory test (every couple years or so) in which people are placed in various life-threatening situations involving wild animals, obstacle courses, etc.?

Those who exhibit a reasonable level of fitness would have a reasonable chance of evading death, while those who "let themselves go" are much more likely to end up as food for some kind of large carnivore or as feedstock for an industrial wood chipper.

Have the whole thing take place in some kind of a large controlled environment with lots of cameras and audio pickups, then sell advertising rights to the 24/7 broadcast of all the mayhem.

All upside. No downside

Re:A more darwinist approach (1)

Yoo Chung (43695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917161)

Please, no Battle Royale [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:A more darwinist approach (1)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917185)

How about some kind of mandatory test (every couple years or so) in which people are placed in various life-threatening situations involving wild animals, obstacle courses, etc.?

Have you ever watched a Japanese game show? They already do this and I'm pretty sure, based on the typical contestants, that it's mandatory.

So what are sumo promoters gonna do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916957)

Somehow, a 33.5" waist just doesn't seem right on a sumo wrestler.

What about Sumo Wrestlers? (-1, Redundant)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916969)

Is there an exeption?

Huh? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916983)

I've been thin all my life; in fact not thin but skinny. Right now I'm trying to gain weight (I';ve been therefore eating at McDonald's and drinking beer a lot).

My waist is 32 inches. They want people over 40 to have waist sizes of less than 33?

And without taking into account that someone seven feet tall should have a bigger waist than someone four feet tall?

What's next, legislating hat sizes?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917155)

Yeah, this wouldn't work so well in North America I would think.

FWIW I'm 38 and about 6'3". I float between about 195 and 205 depending where in race season I am. Body fat never gets much over 15-16%

If I can go pound out an Olympic Tri or ride my bike happily for 100 miles, I don't think I'm much of a weight concern. ... my waist size? 35-35.5

A better measurement would be hip/waist ratio, keep that below .95 (or .9) for men, .8 for women and you'll keep the risks down.

Retahdid (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916985)

The comparison to American waistlines is specious, as Americans are (quite literally) bigger-boned. The average height in the States is quite a bit higher than that in Japan. It's indisputable that U.S. skeletal structures are different.

BMI would be a better comparison, and body fat % an even better one.

average waist? (1)

jadin (65295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917009)

>> The average waistline in America in 2005 was 39 inches for men, 37 inches for women.

Yeah, but it's a bit smaller if you take CowboyNeal out of the study sample.

what about.. (1)

krnpimpsta (906084) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917021)

What about bodybuilders?

What about people with non-standard bone structure or fat distribution? They could easily have wider waists without actually being fat or overweight.

What about taller people? How can you expect someone who is 6'5" to have the same waist as someone who is 5'0"?

I'm 5'11.5" and ~200lbs and athletically built (12% body fat.. not bodybuilder low and not unhealthy high) but my waist is 33"-34". I'm fat and deserve a fine in Japan? Lame...

My job is to be fat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917031)

I'm a sumo you insensitive clod!

In America, employee pays... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917041)

I'm posting AC for obvious reasons:

My company's new health care plan to start next year (yea, they started sending out info in MAY for NEXT YEAR's plan - this is a bad sign) essentially includes stuff like that. Your premiums go up if you do not take advantage of preventive services.

Now that may sound good on the surface, but when you read the details it starts to become creepy.

These preventive services include "Weight Watchers" or other weight control. In other words, if your (soon to be required) annual physical tells them you're overweight and you don't improve, and there's no "other" reason for it (such as various hormonal problems that can make it very difficult to lose weight), your out of pocket expenses go WAY up.

This is scary for people who sit at a desk all day. I don't see it as much of a problem for the folks in the production facilities, where they're moving around all day, but for us IT folks, this is bad news.

It's already here, folks. Expect it in non-union places first, because the unions will fight it. Then it will be forced down our throats by big government as a cost-saving measure for "universal health care".

Am I the only one who sees this as the first tiny steps towards "Gattica"?

must be a lot of thin and self-rightous voters (1)

mikeabbott420 (744514) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917067)

There must be a much smaller percentage of fat people in Japan than in the west. That a government could even think about doing this would indicate that the fat people must be a very small and very despised minority.

More babysitting is not a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917073)

We are aware there is a problem. We need to make the choice as to whether we do something about it or not. It's up to us. There are places we can get help if we choose to. If we don't, that is a valid choice as well. But as citizens, more babysitting is not a solution.

This is about culture, not health insurance (1)

rbrander (73222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917079)

I will admit from the start to be working from a stereotype, but here goes: The stereotype is that Japanese culture leans - more than most Oriental cultures and far more than any Western culture - to group norms, group *homogeneity*.

This initiative would be a total non-starter in Canada, which has, alas, the same obesity problems as the US.

I've never heard of such a thing out of the many European countries with universal health coverage, either.

So although your health care scheme may provide an incentive towards these kind of requirements, the fact that it is public - and ultimately accountable to the public - also restricts it to cultural standards embraced by the majority.

Or in short, any politician that wants to keep his job in the West is not even going to mention this. It's NOT a "slippery slope". On the contrary, pushing for higher general culture-wide health standards is a long, slow, UPHILL plod.

Ask the anti-cigarette activists; 54 years now since the surgeon general's report and while progress has been significant, it hasn't been fast.

Interesting (2, Interesting)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917145)


I was in japan about 9 years ago and I went back just a few months ago. I was amazed at the difference. There were far more people that I would categorize as overweight. No where near as many as in America and nobody that appeared to be obese, but it was quite a shift in a decade.

To go along with that I noticed that there were far more fast food places and unlike my first trip, restaurants did not list the calories on items the way they had in the past.

On the other hand I noticed that smoking was down and there were more non smoking areas (including on the streets of Tokyo) but those regulations were often ignored.

39 Inches !!!! Whoa !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917149)

Holy Crap ! And that makes me in shape at only 36 inches, although I was had a 28 inch waist in high school.

I guess that French movie, The Triplets of Bellville, go it right. (When the French character visited the US, even the Statue of Liberty and the American dogs were grossly obese.)

Actually in centimeters... (2, Informative)

thesolo (131008) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917183)

Point of note, since this article is all hidden-metric...

The real waist requirements for men: 85 cm (33.4645669 inches)
The real waist requirements for women: 90 cm (35.4330709 inches)

Japan doesn't use inches.

I just wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917187)

The charge more for heavy people in subway and train. My wife paid full fare, but usually sit 3/4 of a seat, because the average New York City subway rider require two seats to fit.

Athletes??? (5, Interesting)

mini_razor (1306073) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917189)

Surely that counts out virtually most athletes in sports such as Weightlifting, Rugby Union, Shotput, Discus and many many more sports in which the atheletes are likely to be semi pro and have to have a 9 - 5 to help support themselves financially. Let alone Sumo Wrestling which is what football is to us Brits! Thats real football by the way to all you yanks :-p. You can be very healthy and very muscular and have a waist well above 33.5, I know a guy whose a semi professional Rugby Union player who has a 42 inch waist and a 55 inch chest, and is fitter than 99% of people on the street! It should be done on proper BMI (Body Mass Index), not including just height and weight as most do, but a real BMI includes skin fold measurements and takes into account percentage body fat and needs to be carried out by a qualified professional for the results to be accurate. If your gonna introduce a law which has monetary fines attatched to it at least make it fair!

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917205)

So I just need to move to Japan to find my pant size? sweet

33/34 hard to find in any department store

Arguments Are Thin At Best (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917215)

Wow. The implications of this sort of law is huge! I'm surprised the lawmakers were able to get any weight behind this.

The fact is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23917219)

Obviously, there are exceptions, but most obese people are obese because of choices they make: overeating unhealthy foods and under-exercising.


And obese people have more health problems than non-obese people. This costs the rest of us higher premiums and more. Much more.


This reminds me of smokers getting lung cancer and causing everyone else to pay higher premiums. They cry about "freedom to smoke" but have no hesitation in taking away their family members' freedom when they get sick with cancer and vomit/shit/cough all over the couch, carpet and bed.


Just remember, when you demand freedom to treat your body like shit, don't demand other people to give up their freedom in order to take you to the hospital a hundred times or literally wipe your ass or clean your shit off your chair.


I lost about a year of my life because of a smoker who refused to listen to reason and continued to smoke. But when stage 4 lung cancer hit, the fucking demands for everyone to drop everything was selfish beyond belief.


Unless your obesity is caused by a medical condition, get off your asses and take better care of your body. Because your freedom to treat your body like shit will ultimately infringe on other people's freedoms--namely the ones that love you enough to care for you when you become horribly sick.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...