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Firms Introduce Flab Checks

Flab Checking Workers For Costly Waistlines

Over the next month Japanese firms will start performing "flab checks" on their employees over age 40. A health ministry led initiative is requiring firms to reduce the number of overweight employees and their families by 10 percent by 2012, and if they fall shy of that target the firms will be penalized.

"Flab checks" involve measuring the waistlines of about 56 million men and women to see if they're at risk of metabolic syndrome, and men "with girths of more than 85cm (33.5in) will be given exercise and diet plans and, in urgent cases, told to see a doctor." Reducing the prevalence of obesity would save the government and corporations on health care costs.

Employees' health habits have been on employers' radars in the US, too, but so far the penalties have been assigned to workers in the form of higher health care premiums. Do you think it seems right that the companies will be fined if their employees fail to slim their waistlines? And do you think the new policy would cause discrimination in hiring candidates who aren't overweight in the first place?


Join The Conversation
sunnynight sunnynight 8 years
I agree with Meike--since only a small percentage of Japanese are fat, there won't really be a risk of discrimination.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I think its a great idea, and reward the ones who stay fit.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
33.5 inches?
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
wow - that's really taking initiative there. i think that if it's being done for the right reasons - like higher health care risks etc, then ok. i can't imagine that it would go over well here in the US when there are SO many people who would be at risk.
Meike Meike 9 years
Seems quite impossible for America when approximately 60% of it's population is overweight and/or obese. There will be a back lash in the American workforce. Japan, on the other hand, only has 2% of its population overweight. To be honest, I've never seen any person there who would be considered obese and I've lived in Japan for 17 years of my life. Ugh, so many people with unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise in America it thoroughly sickens me. America is really undisciplined compared to the its other first world counterparts (Japan, France, Germany, Sweden, Korea, etc). Too bad the UK is picking up slowly on the unhealthy habits but at least they have national programs trying to combat the problem.
princessjaslew princessjaslew 9 years
well, the good thing is that it encourages healthy habits (hopefully) in the workplace. But it probably would result in hiring discrimination.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I do think that the backlash will be not hiring overweight employees in the first place. That also means that they're going to seek out overly thin employees so they don't run the risk.
urbanista urbanista 9 years
i really think that's an awesome idea. i know some people might think it's going too far in personal matters but i see it as a an effective way for everyone to get more concerned about their health.
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