Health data for 1997 compiled and released Friday by the Education Ministry indicates that the average weight of young girls is on the decline, possibly influenced by slender teen idols like pop star Namie Amuro.

Declines in weight from the previous year’s level were reported for girls from kindergarten through the third, final year of high school. Only those in their first year of junior high were not lighter this year. Girls at all high school levels were an average 0.3 kg lighter than in previous years, marking the largest fall for girls in the three grades.

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