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Chubby cops told to ‘lose the extra’

Date Posted: 2007-07-25

Nearly one-third of Okinawa’s law enforcement officers are overweight, and are now in a program to shed the extra pounds.
Okinawa Prefectural Police officials say they’ve put 850 of its 2,800 officers on a special diet, and are enrolled in exercise programs and seminars on weight control and nutrition. The new program went into effect June 1st, and program monitors will begin follow-up weigh-ins starting in September. A police spokesman says the police problem isn’t unique; that about 30% of Okinawa citizens are overweight. The numbers make Okinawa the most overweight prefecture in Japan.
Officers participating in the program are motivated, according to the Prefectural Police Welfare section. “The motivation in this program has clearly changed for them, with many now taking early morning walks,” the official say. The Okinawa Prefectural Police has hired professional nutritionists to create walking and other exercise programs, and also to conduct seminars on reforming eating habits. The nutritionists are also available for one-on-one counseling.
One of the nutritionists, Noriko Kinjo, says the officers often gain weight because of the nature of their jobs. Irregular and demanding schedules are a big factor, she says, “especially when they transfer to desk jobs, and don’t walk or exercise. It’s a particular problem when they continue to consume the same amount of calories as when they were young.” Another factor, she notes, are working hours. “They have night shifts and work overtime, so their lives are not regular.”
Still, Kinjo says she is seeing good results, and is optimistic. “Most policemen are serious and sincere people,” she points out, “and although we’ve only been on the program two months, they are already losing weight.”

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