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Abstract

STRATEGIES FOR PROMOTING HEALTH AND REDUCING MEDICAL EXPENSES IN JAPAN USING PURPOSE IN LIFE/IKIGAI, MODERATE EXERCISE, AND A WELL-BALANCED DIET

*Riichiro Ishida

ABSTRACT

[Purpose] This study attempted to clarify correlations of age, life expectancy, and anxiety to disease, mortality, and medical expenses in consideration of the modern daily lifestyle in Japan. [Methods] Time series data for each variable were collected from Japanese public institutes, such as the Japanese government. One-sample t-tests, Wilcoxon tests, and Kendall correlation analyses were performed to clarify differences and correlations between each variable. [Results] Having external sources of happiness, including a “happy family circle” and “meeting and discussing ideas with friends and acquaintances” was found to be significantly more related to higher levels of happiness compared to internal sources of happiness, including “devotion to study and culture” and “devotion to hobby and sports” (p<0.001). Having internal sources was related to significantly more happiness than work (p<0.001). Satisfaction with the amount of materials, food, and rest were each significantly higher than dissatisfaction for each corresponding item (p<0.001). Regular exercise, steps per day, skipping breakfast, vegetable consumption, and legumes consumption were all poorer than the standards proposed by Japanese public institutes (p<0.001 in all tests). Lack of sleep tended to be greater than standard values proposed by Japanese public institutes (p=0.055). Age, life expectancy, and anxiety were positively correlated with number of patients, proportion of mortalities, and medical expenses. [Conclusion] We suggest that people should establish “purpose in life/Ikigai” related to internal sources of happiness, which are more stable than external sources, and then an effective way to cope with stress. This process should be combined with moderate aerobic exercise and eating a well-balanced diet. Doing so may contribute to decreasing anxiety and to a decreased national healthcare burden.

Keywords: stress, disease, evolutionary medicine, prefrontal lobe function, purpose in life/Ikigai, epigenome changes.


[Full Text Article]

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