Japan’s Metabolic Syndrome Screening Program: Japanese and U.S. Approaches to Obesity and Population Health

We are delighted to announce our newly added lecture on April 9th, 2014 from 3:30 – 5:00 pm at Laurel Heights in Conference Room 474.

Amy Borovoy, Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University, will talk about “Japan’s Metabolic Syndrome Screening Program: Japanese and U.S. Approaches to Obesity and Population Health”.

While the U.S. continues to target “obesity” in its public health battle

Amy Borovoy

Amy Borovoy

against population weight gain, the Japanese government has instead targeted “metabolic syndrome,” imposing a mandatory yearly screening for those between ages 40 and 74. The policy imposes no regulatory measures on the food industry and instead relies on screening, education, and individual decision-making to obtain better health outcomes. In her talk, Amy will argue that while such a strategy goes against the wisdom of recent public health advocates who urge environmental controls such as regulating advertising, taxing sugar sweetened beverages, and calorie labels on menus, it may succeed due to cohesive Japanese cultural values and historical links between culture and hygiene. Metabolic syndrome is defined by the Ministry of Health as a “disease of the lifestyle” (seikatsu sh?kanby?), and thus clearly links rising population weight to everyday values and habits. Amy will also present ethnographic data raises the question of whether less paternalistic measures called “nudges” by behavioural economists can be successful in the absence of such a pervasive value system.

You can read more about Amy’s publications here.

April 9th, 2014
3:30 – 5:00 pm
Laurel Heights Campus
Conference Room 474

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Last modified: April 7, 2014