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BMI status of the female population Japan 2018, by age group

According to a survey conducted in November 2018, most women in Japan were within the normal range of the body mass index (BMI). Around 72.4 percent of female respondents in the age group 40 to 49 years were of normal weight in terms of BMI, while more than 17 percent were overweight.

Weights control in Japan

The majority of deaths in recent Japanese society are caused by lifestyle diseases. In order to reduce the number of deaths from lifestyle diseases, the Japanese government implemented a new annual metabolic syndrome examination in 2008 for citizens aged over 40 years old. People who are classified as having metabolic syndrome or pre-metabolic syndrome at the examination receive advice and support from a nutritionist to improve their diet and lifestyle habits. The government also introduced a new license Tokuho in 1991 for food and beverages that contain ingredients that can have a positive influence on the physiological function. Major companies in Japan currently produce a lot of food and drink products that can meet the requirement of the license. Despite those measures, the share of people in Japan that are classified as overweight has not fluctuated much in recent years. As of 2018, close to 32 percent of Japanese men were classified as overweight, a record high in the last decade.

Underweight among young women

In contrast to the people categorized as overweight, young female Japanese are facing an underweight problem. According to the survey, approximately 30 percent of women younger than 20 years old were reported as being underweight. The Japanese health ministry pointed out that the dissemination of beauty standards in society and media, alongside the flooded information about diet methods, are facilitating young Japanese women’s desire to be “thin.” To reduce the risk of health disorders, such as amenorrhea and osteoporosis among women, the government has set the goal of less than 20 percent of the female population under 30 years old to be underweight by 2022.

Body mass index (BMI) status of the female population in Japan as of November 2018, by age group

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Release date

March 2020



Survey time period

November 2018

Number of respondents

2,875 respondents

Age group

15 years and older

Special properties

excluding women who were pregnant

Method of interview


Supplementary notes

The source classified the level of Body Mass Index (BMI) as follows:
Underweight= less than 18.5 kg/m²
Normal=18.5 kg/m².to 25 kg/m²
Overweight= more than 25 kg/m²

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Statistics on "State of health in Japan"

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