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Police officers ordered on healthy diet, change lifestyle

Date Posted: 2003-05-10

A healthy lifestyle is being pressed on Okinawa Prefectural Police. With the life expectancy of Okinawan males dropping from the nation's first to 27th place, Prefectural Police have adopted a new force-wide policy billed as "Reducing weight and body fat increases life."

In practical terms, the new policy means every member of the police force is assigned to a four-member team, with teams competing with each other in reducing weight and body fat to a targeted level. The teams will win awards and travel tickets. There will also be competition within police sections.

The measure was partly prompted by the fact that the police force has lost 15 members over the past five years for various health ailments attributed to being overweight. Four officers died of such causes last year alone. Regular health checks revealed more than half of the policemen are overweight or/and have health warning signs related to weight problems.

Every police officer in the Prefectural Police force is required to measure their weight and file a form with the Prefecture Police Health and Welfare Section. That is to be followed up with a monthly weight measurement, with the results followed up in three-month periods.

The teamwork is the key, an officer at the Police Health and Welfare Section said. "Although every policeman should take care of his own health, sometimes its easier and better to act as a member of a team. I very much expect that in three months we have a much leaner police force in Okinawa."

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