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Health & Medicine

Japanese Women Experience Intense Pressure to Stay Thin

— November 14, 2023

Diet culture is the norm in Japan, study shows.

For women in Japan, many standards are set incredibly high when it comes to how much they weigh and what their body looks like. Despite curves being an attractive idea for many other cultures and countries, being thin has remained the superior beauty standard for women. A lot of media in Japanese culture can show animated versions of women that are incredibly thin and unrealistic, but desired. Media usually ends up controlling a certain narrative, which may be why the beauty standard for Japanese women has yet to see any change. Since not everyone grows to look the same, that standard can become an issue.

Appearing skinny is usually seen as being healthy, but the two facts do not always go hand in hand. The pressure to be lean as a woman in Japan in general can lead to harmful actions that should be avoided.

In June of 2023, Kracie Pharmaceutical, a pharmaceutical company based in Tokyo, conducted a survey that was designed to research different desires and worries for women when it comes to dieting and managing body image. The study included a range of women participants from the ages of 20 to 60. About thirty percent of the women surveyed cited both “wrinkles” and “stiff shoulders” as some of their most intense anxieties. General weight gain and swelling made about an additional forty percent of women.

Japanese Women Experience Intense Pressure to Stay Thin
Photo by ROCKETMANN TEAM from Pexels

Kracie Pharmaceutical discovered almost half of the women in the study who had common insecurities or worries about their body were already dieting. Over sixty percent of those women who were on a diet used exercise, food limitations, and medicinal diet options as their methods.

Most exercise methods are simple and involve some type of cardio or weight training. Limiting food intake based on quality and quantity is also very common when it comes to the idea of dieting and weight management.

Utilizing medicinal methods is where things get more complicated. These medications do many things for a body, including an increase in fat burning, a reduction in appetite, and a reduction in the amount of nutrients a body will take in.

Upon first glance, these all seem like incredibly helpful tools. But if done the wrong way, diet medicine can actually work in opposition to someone’s weight loss goals. Many of the medicine options do not work if that is all that is taken. Some must be combined with others or mixed with a different dieting method like food limitation.

If only one medication is taken and no other methods are being used, the medicine could actually cause someone to gain weight. There is also the chance that certain medications will have a negative effect on someone’s body.

As more women, especially Japanese women with strict dieting goals, lean towards trying dieting medication as an effective method, it becomes a standard. As long as informed choices are being made and a healthcare professional is being involved, these women should be able to meet their goals in a safe way.


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