There's no shortage of companies looking to profit off women trying to lose weight -- in fact, the dieting industry generates $20 billion of annual revenue in the U.S. alone. But one group in Osaka, Japan may have come up with one of the most unique weight-loss schemes of all: an apartment building that offers discounted rent based on a tenant's weight loss.
The Lady Share House B&D, an all-female, communal residential facility in Osaka, Japan, now deducts 1,000 yen (or about $10) from a tenant's rent for every 2.2 pounds they lose, and increases rent if a tenant gains weight. According to the Japanese news website Otaku Kokka, each resident is weighed every three months, and rent is determined by multiplying the renter's weight in kilograms by 1,000 yen, in addition to a 38,000 yen floor price.
Mari Kataoka, the Broad Enterprise Administrator, told the Associated Press that the original goal of the house was to create a supportive environment for overweight women looking for an alternative way to change their lifestyle. The building also provides exercise equipment, discounted beauty products and snacks (to facilitate "resistan[ce] to temptation"), meant to help tenants become healthier together. However, Kataoka told the Associated Press that in practice, "we found out that many people who already have a great body come here and their goal is to maintain that physique."
While there's certainly nothing wrong with promoting a healthy lifestyle, this doesn't seem like the best way to encourage better habits. We just hope that the share house's policy doesn't ultimately encourage its tenants to develop an unhealthy obsession with becoming ever-thinner.