Q Why are there so few overweight Japanese?

A Although Western foods are eaten with great frequency, the food served on the table in Japan is basically Japanese. Compared to food served in the ordinary home in the United States and Europe, the Japanese consume approximately 2,600 calories a day as opposed to the Americans and the French who consume approximately 3,500 calories
a day. The intake of animal foods by the Japanese ranges from half to three fifths at most, to that of Westerners.

Basically, large amounts of Japanese food can be eaten without gaining weight. But many Japanese think they are overweight and there is no end to the people who go on a diet. But being overweight by Western standards greatly exceeds what the Japanese regard as being overweight and this may perhaps be the reason why Westerners regard overweight Japanese as not really being overweight.

There is a theory that obesity is determined by one's genes although there is nothing to prove it is so. It is more likely that children have a tendency to become obese if they grow up in an environment where the food served is prepared by an obese parent. It is a fact that after World War II, the number of overweight Japanese has rapidly increased because of a rich diet.

The number of overweight men has recently leveled off, but the number of underweight women, on the other hand, has making increasing.