Losing Weight – Japanese Style

Even the world’s healthiest nation is battling the bulge, as it were. Despite an obesity rate many times smaller than our own, the Japanese are still seeing obesity rates rise. The notoriously healthy Japanese diet is being sabotaged by refined sweet breads, bigger portions, larger quantities of red meats, and ice creams. Now, if you were Japanese, how would you choose to solve this problem?

With technology, of course!

A new system developed by Asahi Kasei Corporation is now being used in Osaka to allow users to send photos of their meals to be analyzed by nutritionists so that they know exactly what they are eating. A report is sent to them within three days that records the number of calories consumed among other important factors that could contribute to weight gain.

Japan’s traditional diet, high in fish, rice and soy, and low in red meats, is slowly becoming a thing of the past as many Japanese are turning to easy to cook foods or high-fat imported recipes. Like, many countries around the world, Japan does not want to see its obesity rate or its population balloon like that of their friends on the other side of the Pacific.

In an interview with CNN, Dr. Yutaka Kimura at Kansai Medical University in Hirakata explains how a similar system developed by his university works: “Patients used to fill out meal logs, but people tend to forget things or underestimate their portions,” Kimura said. “Photographing meals and e-mailing them in, is easier and gets more accurate results.” The system he has developed charges patients a one-time sign up fee along with a fee of 4,500 yen per month.

The convenience and accuracy of these programs is already encouraging many Japanese to pay up and give it a try. The hope is that the cell phone technology that’s found in every pocket and purse in Japan will help to reduce waistlines. The country’s reputation as among the healthiest in the world is depending on the success of these programs in order to curb the horizontal growth of its people.

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