Over a meal with my friend Kaori, she looks at the small dessert that comes with her lunch set and sighs. “I shouldn’t eat it. I really do need to lose some weight.” I can’t for the life of me understand why. Stylishly dressed with a fashionable haircut and immaculate gel manicure, Kaori is one of the most attractive women I know.
“I read that the average weight for Japanese women in my age group is 55 kg and I’m (her voice drops to a whisper) 56.5! I really would love to get under 55 kg.” She allows herself no leeway for being several centimeters taller than the average woman in Japan.
Kaori is no image-conscious 20-something, trying out the latest diet fads—she’s the working mother of two teenagers in her 40s. She isn’t alone.
Underweight women on the rise
According to the data from the Health Ministry’s annual national surveys on health and nutrition, underweight Japanese women in their 20s, 30s and 40s have been increasing.
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