Schools Training

Mandatory “Eating Education” Keeps Japan’s Population Healthy

12 JAN 2015
Career Path : Education News


Japan seems to have a lot of things right. Not only is it the country with the longest life expectancy (83.10 years), it is also the least obese developed country in the world. In fact, Canada and the rest of North America could take a few pointers from Japan when it comes to health education – the U.S. is already one of the fattest nations in the world, with Canada not far behind. The secret to Japan’s success? A complete eating education involving mandatory home economics classes for girls and boys, an emphasis on home-cooked meals and nutrition education starting young.

Unlike in Canadian high schools, where Home Economics is an elective, in Japan it is a mandatory course. In these classes, girls and boys learn how to calculate the calories in foods and learn how to cook balanced meals. Perhaps if Home Ec. was mandatory in Canada, we wouldn’t have those notoriously bad college student eating habits which involve pizza, instant noodles and cereal.

Japan spent 200 million yen on eating education in 2014 alone, in order to combat a slow but steady rise of overweight people in the country (largely due to an influx of fast-food restaurants from America). This education includes lessons such as: never skip breakfast, don’t eat from convenience stores and always choose home-cooked food over fast food.

Most schools in Japan also have a school lunch program, which is always a healthy meal. The key is that the meal is the same for everyone, meaning there is no way for picky eaters to choose unhealthy alternatives.

Source: CBC News