In an effort to curtail healthcare spending,  APR 11 2008

In an effort to curtail healthcare spending, the Japanese government is requiring companies to cut the number of overweight workers (and their dependents!) by 25% as of 2015. Companies which fail to do so will have to pay into a fund for elderly care.

Reduced exercise, the adoption of western foods and an aging population have made Japanese men about 10 percent heavier than they were 30 years ago, ministry statistics show. Women are 6.4 percent fatter.

The ministry estimates that half of men over age 40 and 20 percent of women will be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. For men, a key yardstick is whether they have a waistline wider than 85 centimeters (33.5 inches). Body mass, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and smoking will also be taken into account.

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