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To Create a Society for Health and “Well-being”

2014.06.10

Unit Name:
Create the Smart Wellness City for Realizing Healthy and Longevity Society
Unit representative:
Professor Shinya Kuno, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences

Unit members:
14 (4 faculty members, 3 postdoctoral fellows, 7 from other organizations)

Key words:
walking, health, lifestyle-related diseases, local revitalization

URL:

 

As the aging of Japanese society proceeds at an unprecedented rate, there has been concern that even if progress in medical technologies increases longevity, the period in which they will be able to live happily while staying in good health may become shorter. If this occurs, local communities will become inactive and there will be increases in health care and social security expenditures. The research unit aims to establish “Smart Wellness Cities” for “health and welfare”, in which autonomous “walking” is recommended, to encourage community residents, including those who are not interested in health promotion, to change their behaviors, help local communities continue to be vibrant, and contribute to their revitalization. The unit is referred to as “Create the Smart Wellness City for Realizing Healthy and Longevity Society”.

People take pleasure in walking around this city

It is believed that physical activity levels of people who trust in the community and participate in social activities tend to be higher. To expand the “healthy life expectancy” of community residents in Japan – an aging society, the research unit aims to increase the physical activity of all residents in daily life by developing cities in which community residents who are not interested in health promotion take pleasure in walking naturally as part of daily activities and without feeling pressured to “exercise” (Illustration 1). To develop a society in which the physical and psychological health and welfare of community people are maintained, the research unit reviews existing “cities and towns”, accurately defines roles played by walking, automobiles, and public transportation, and encourage residents to lead a “self-sustaining” life based on “walking”.

(Illustration 1) Creation of Smart Wellness City in which all residents naturally develop the habit of walking and improve their health

(Illustration 1) Creation of Smart Wellness City in which all residents naturally develop the habit of walking and improve their health

The world’s first indices of health and city development

In response to the necessity of establishing systems for the comprehensive management of community health, the research unit develops and creates “Indices of Cities for Health and Welfare”, evidence-based objective indices, which can be easily used to develop and assess policies related to health promotion. Whereas the effects of medical and nursing care benefits are evaluated based on mid- and long-term perspectives, the indices are designed to reflect the short-term outcomes of health-related policies implemented by municipalities, and directly correlated with the above-mentioned expenditures. The research unit also develops the system for the provision and management of specific exercise/nutrition programs (e-wellness system) for community residents, and provides evidence-based health-promoting programs (Figures 1 & 2).

Figure 1: Changes in medical expenditure for people living in Mitsuke City, Niigata Prefecture, who attended health promotion courses (e-wellness program) on a continuing basis

Figure 1: Changes in medical expenditure for people living in Mitsuke City, Niigata Prefecture, who attended health promotion courses (e-wellness program) on a continuing basis

Figure 2: Effects of e-wellness (Improvement in physical fitness age in all municipalities)

Figure 2: Effects of e-wellness (Improvement in physical fitness age in all municipalities)

Social contributions and achievements
● Organization of Smart Wellness City workshops for chiefs
● Development of the health cloud to be shared by municipalities
● Development of algorithms for the evaluation and analysis of urban development measures
● Provision of the e-wellness system (Figure 3)

Figure 3: e-wellness system

Figure 3: e-wellness system

(Interviewed on July 23, 2013)


Research Administration/Management Office at U Tsukuba TEL 029-853-4434