Close Close

Life Health > Health Insurance > Your Practice

Big government, small bellies: What Japan can teach us about fighting fat

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

If, like many Americans, you’re looking to lose weight, there are worse role models to look to than Japan, which boasts the world’s lowest obesity rate. The good news: For the most part, the Japanese approach to weight loss requires only minor sacrifice. Reform your diet to favor fish, vegetables and rice? Check. Take public transportation when possible, and walk more? Makes sense. But suggest that Americans, like the Japanese, submit to government rules against weight gain and things start to get dicey. Not that they necessarily should, argues The Atlantic’s Noah Smith. Requiring workers of a certain weight to attend dieting classes may be crossing a few libertarian lines, but there are other regulatory measures we could take — things like clearly labeling high-fat foods and taxing sugar — that could transform the U.S. obesity rate.