As many as 51.9 percent of female Japanese high-school students see themselves as overweight, according to an international comparative survey recently conducted by the National Institution for Youth Education, an institution under the jurisdiction of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.
As the percentage of respondents with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more — a level of weight relative to height that is considered obese in Japan — was only 2.7 percent for Japan, the poll suggests that Japanese high school girls face more pressure to diet than is necessary.
In the survey conducted from September to November last year, about 8,500 high school students from Japan, the United States, China and South Korea were asked about such issues as lifestyle and health consciousness.
In the question about how they perceived their own body shape, the ratio of female students who answered “I am overweight” or “I am a little overweight” was higher in Japan than in the other three countries. The lowest was the United States with 19.7 percent.
Twenty-three percent of girls in Japan — the lowest among the four nations — said they were “satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their body shape.