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2019.02.21

【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.163: Obesity and excessive dieting

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

In Column No. 162, I introduced a survey on BMI conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. BMI stands for Body Mass Index, which represents one's degree of obesity. The ministry defines obesity as a BMI of 25 or more.


Among adults aged 20 years or older, the percentage of those with a BMI of 25 or more was 30.7% for males and 21.9% for females in 2017. As shown in Figure 1, it has hardly changed in 10 years. Figure 2 shows the percentage of obese adults by age group in 2017. It is noteworthy that the percentage for females in their 20s is as low as 5.7%. This suggests that excessive dieting is prevalent among young women. According to the survey, the percentage of females in their 20s with a BMI of less than 18.5 has risen from 13.4% in 1981 to 21.7% in 2017.


Figure 1: Percentage of adults aged 20 or older with a BMI of 25 or more
163-fig1.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Figure 2: Percentage of obese adults by age group in 2017
163-fig2.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare



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