Lower rent rates and patches sewed to your tongue — unusual approaches aim to help people lose weight

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18 2013 9:45 a.m. MDT

At an apartment complex in Japan, tenants rent fluctuates according to their weight: for each kilo (approximately 2 pounds) they lose, tenants pay 1,000 yen, or approximately $10, less. On the other side, tenants pay 1,000 more yen for every kilo they gain.

Screenshot Associated Press Video

Dieting comes in variations, but new incentives to lose weight have picked up media attention.

At an apartment complex in Osaka, Japan, when you weigh less, you pay less. The female-only tenants’ rent fluctuates according to their weight: for each kilo (approximately 2.2 pounds) tenants lose, they pay 1,000 yen, or approximately $10, less. On the other side, tenants pay 1,000 more yen for every kilo they gain.

“Since the rent is lower if you lose weight, we thought overweight people would be coming to live here. Instead, we found that people who already have a great body come here and their goal is to maintain that physique,” said Lady Share House B&D administrator Mari Kataoka, in an interview with the Associated Press.

The Lady Share House B&D houses 24 women and provides exercise equipment to help the women control their weight. It offers discounted beauty products and lectures on weight management, according to Daily Mail.uk. The housing complex also provides unlimited sugary snacks and drinks, which are intended as a means to strengthen tenants' resistance to unhealthy foods rather than to raise rent.

“By having snacks at their disposal, we hope they will become more resistant to temptation,” Kataoka said in her interview. "In this share house the residents have the same goals to lose weight, so it's easier not to give up.”

The Lady Share House’s approach to rent has mixed responses, some people believe it encourages fitness, and others say it can lead to eating disorders. Many say the weight-loss incentive could be dangerous in Japan, where 30 percent of women in their 20s are underweight, according to Daily Mail.uk.

But when “The Doctors” Facebook page asked followers if they would live in an apartment building where rent was determined by weight, 53 percent said they would.

Another form of dieting that has received criticism is the tongue patch diet, which is a basic cosmetic surgery in which a stamp-sized patch is sewn onto a person’s tongue, according to msn.com.

The tongue patch forces patients into a liquid-only diet because eating solid foods is too painful. Patients can lose up to 30 pounds by having the patch on for a month, according to the Huffington Post.

ABC News followed the month-long tongue patch experience of two women to report on what it was like. Although they struggled to adjust to their new diet, they were both pleased with their final results.

But some in the medical field have concerns with extreme forms of dieting.

“This is so primitive an approach, you can hire someone to hold a gun next to your head and threaten to shoot you everytime you eat. The idea that you put this patch in your mouth and every time you take one morsel of solid food you get this stabbing pain, who the heck knows what the long-term consequences of that are?” said Dr. Rob Huizenga, a weight loss expert in the ABC segment. “There’s not one scintilla of hope or evidence that putting a patch on your tongue and not being able to eat for a month is going to have any effect on you at one year, or two years, or three years.”

Japanese Rooms for Rent: Weigh Less, Pay Less

Rental rates for shared houses are usually determined by location and the number of rooms. But at one shared property in Osaka, Japan, the monthly cost has nothing to do with the size of the structure. It's all about the size of the resident. (July 23)

Abby Stevens is a writer for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact her at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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