Regulation of the Day 71: Waistlines

In Japan, it is illegal for men to have a waist larger than 33.5 inches. The limit for women is 35.4 inches. Those in violation are forced to undergo counseling (Hat tip to CEI colleague Megan McLaughlin).

The law, passed last year, is part of an effort to keep obesity rates low and avoid related health problems.

One problem with using wasitlines as the primary metric is that results can vary among measurers. According to one article, “Satoru Yamada, a doctor at Kitasato Institute Hospital in Tokyo, published a study two years ago in which several doctors measured the waist of the same person. Their results varied by as much as 7.8 centimeters.”

That’s almost ten percent of the average waistline. It is sad that Japanese regulators have a strong enough nanny-state streak to legislate allowable physical dimensions. But the lack of precision in enforcing their edict must be maddening for the people involved.