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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

March 8, 2006

Written by C.N.

Japanese Become More American: Fatter

Americans trends have usually been popular in Japan as well. But one of the newest Americans trends that is increasingly becoming common in Japan is being fat and overweight. In fact, the rise of this trend is threatening to tarnish Japan’s status as one of the healthiest countries in the world:

“I don’t know for how long Japan can maintain the world’s highest longevity,” says Yukio Yamori, director of the International Center for Research on Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases. “If eating habits change, life expectancy will shorten and this has already been made clear.”

Still, Japan’s fat problem pales besides that of the U.S., reports Craft: While about one-third of Americans are obese, the rate for Japan is just 3 percent. Only 24 percent of Japanese aged 15 and older are believed to be overweight, compared to about 65 percent of adults in the United States.

But concern is growing over eating patterns like Sayaka’s. Instead of the fish, rice and miso soup of their grandparents’ generation, younger Japanese are increasingly wolfing down fast food like burgers, fried chicken and instant noodles. Bad diets and less exercise create what psychologists say is a vicious cycle: Fat kids are increasingly picked on at school, get depressed and find solace in eating even more.

Ahh, the march of American capitalism and consumer culture never ends. It pervades almost every corner of the world and is apparently powerful enough to change a national culture previous built on centuries, even millenia, of tradition. Japan, wake up and look at your waistlines before it’s too late.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Japanese Become More American: Fatter" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/03/japanese-become-more-american-fatter/> ().

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