Blog | Friday, June 13, 2008

Overcompensating for our mistakes?

In a very strange and hilariously funny article, today's New York Times describes a new program in Japan to measure every citizen's waistline and impose financial consequences on companies and cities that have too many overweight people. It's not clear how or why, but apparently the Japanese have become obsessed with the idea of metabolic syndrome as a driver of health care costs (to the point of writing songs about it), even though the country's population is generally slender. In the article, one critic astutely notes that the program might be better suited to the U.S., where obesity actually is an expensive and pervasive problem. Hard to imagine Americans lining up for waist measurements and singing cheers about dieting, though.