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Japanese women try to get skinnier…why?

japanese fashion wear

The trend is most pronounced among women in their 20s. A quarter-century ago, they were twice as likely to be thin as overweight; now they are four times more likely to be thin. For U.S. women of all ages, obesity rates have about doubled since 1980, rising from 17 percent to 35 percent.

Social pressure — women looking critically at other women — is the most important reason female skinniness is ascendant in Japan, according to Hisako Watanabe, a child psychiatrist and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo.

“Japanese women are outstandingly tense and critical of each other,” said Watanabe, who has been treating women with eating disorders for 34 years. “There is a pervasive habit among women to monitor each other with a serious sharp eye to see what kind of slimness they have.”

Public health experts say that younger Japanese women, as a group, have probably become too skinny for their own good. Restricted calorie consumption is slowing down their metabolisms, the average birth weight of their babies is declining, and their risk of death in case of serious illness is rising.

“I would advise these women to eat when they are hungry,” said Satoshi Sasaki, a professor of preventive epidemiology at the University of Tokyo School of Public Health. “They should be satisfied with a normal body.”

That makes sense to me……

But could this be the real reason?

As in the United States and elsewhere, Japanese women are bombarded by media images of gorgeous, very thin women — and public health experts say they believe those images have played a substantial role in increasing pressure on Japanese women to be skinny.

The American response to such media images puzzles many people in Japan.

“In the United States, you see all these beautiful skinny people on television, and yet Americans keep getting fatter anyway,” said Sasaki, the public health expert at Tokyo University. “Why is that?”

March 5, 2010 - Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Family, Food, Health, Media, Other Things, Travel, Updates, Women | ,

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