According to recent estimates, 30.6 percent of adults in the United States are classified as obese (Body Mass Index of 30 or higher,) while only 3.2 percent of the adult population in Japan falls into that category.
With that in mind, here's an interesting fact:
Average caloric consumption in the US clocks in at 3,770 calories a day, whereas the average Japanese citizen takes in 2,770 calories a day.
Quite a striking difference, wouldn't you say?
By the way, I have seen lots of sloppy reporting in regards to Japan's obesity rate.
Many articles point out that Japan's reputation as a healthy nation is undeserved, since one third of their adults are obese.
It just so happens that Japan and The United States use different parameters to define obesity.
In the USA, one is categorized as obese if their Body Mass Index totals 30 or more.
"Overweight," meanwhile, is used to describe BMIs ranging from 25.0 to 29.9
Japan, however, considers a BMI of 25 to mark the onset of obesity.
To fall into the "overweight" category in the land of the rising sun, one's BMI needs to be between 23.0 and 24.9.
Theories of the Japanese having a distinct genetic makeup that makes them less likely to be obese are flimsy, since adopting the typical US diet -- with its excessive caloric load -- leads to weight gain in this population as well.