Could children from the UK learn from Japan to reduce obesity


British kids are the most overweight in Western Europe, but in Japan, childhood obesity is rare.

Dr C says in the current issue of Closer that we can learn a lesson on keeping our children healthy.

British kids are the most overweight in Western Europe, but in Japan, childhood obesity is rare.

Dr C says we can learn a lesson from them.

Obesity rates here have doubled in 20 years, while in Japan only four percent of people are overweight.

So, what can we learn from them?

Japanese school lunches are planned by nutritionists, made from scratch, and include lots of rice, vegetables, soup, and fish.

Everyone gets identical meals, and if they don’t like it, it’s tough luck!

That’s a nanny state for you, but it can be a good thing.

Schools have no vending machines and children can’t take in their own food until high school.

In the US, obesity hits at age four, but in Japan, rates are very low until kids reach 15 – just as they start choosing their own food.

It sounds harsh, but we didn’t have any choice at my school either, so we just got on with it.

Japanese boards of education also tend to make walking to school compulsory if their school is close enough.


That isn’t always possible over here, but it’s a clever system if you can do it, because it’s automatic daily activity.

When they brought in the smoking ban here, people complained it was an

infringement on their freedom, but now we’ve all adapted.

I suspect it would be the same with these types of policies.

They’d soon feel normal.

It’s not just kids, either.

Japanese businesses get fined if their staff are obese.

I don’t think that’s right, but it does mean that everyone is encouraged to take an interest in health.

Here, we’re overweight, but ignoring it.

Japanese life expectancy is the best in the world, yet they work hard and have high levels of stress, which shows the impact a proper diet has, with lots of fresh fish and vegetables.

Family dinners are another part of Japanese culture.

Everyone sits around the table and children are encouraged to try everything, but not finish if they’re full.

That means kids take their time and don’t eat while distracted.


There’s a Japanese saying, which goes,

“He who has his stomach full 80 per cent will not need a doctor.”

An easier way to think of it is to eat until you’re no longer hungry, rather than until you’re full.


It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full, but we keep eating, then feel stuffed.

The lessons?

Healthy lunches, daily activity, no room for fussiness and taking it slow all help to keep you slim.

Try it!

Reference: Closer Magazine 20 – 26 Jan 2018

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