Japan Wages War on Waists
Japanese workers told to tighten belts
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2008 6:48 AM CDT
Yoshikuni Sakamoto, a medical doctor for electronics maker Panasonic, displays a waist measuring towel he distributes to workers.    (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Japan has launched an unprecedented national campaign to help its residents lose their love handles. The nation now requires local governments and corporations to annually measure the waistline of everyone age 40 to 74, the New York Times reports. Women over 35.4 inches and men over 33.5 inches—rather slender by US standards—will be educated on how to slim down, and local officials and business leaders face fines for missing targets.

“I don’t think the campaign will have any positive effect," said one public health expert in Japan. "Now if you did this in the US, there would be benefits, since there are many Americans who weigh more than 220 pounds. But the Japanese are so slender that they can’t afford to lose weight.”