2005 Volume 15 Issue 6 Pages 219-227
BACKGROUND: Disability-free life expectancy (DFLE) data for 47 prefectures in Japan were reported in 1999; however, few studies have identified the factors associated with the length of the DFLE. The objective of this study was to elucidate the primary factors that explain differences in DFLEs in Japan.
METHODS: In our ecological study, 47 prefectures in Japan were used as units of analysis. The DFLEs for men and women at 65 years of age (DFLE65), calculated by Hashimoto et al using Sullivan's method, were set as dependent variables. From various national surveys, 181 factors associated with demographics, socioeconomic status, health status and health behaviors, medical environment, social relationships, climate, and other areas were gathered as independent variables. Pearson's or Spearman's correlation coefficients were calculated to screen independent variables potentially associated with the DFLE65s. Then, multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted for the selected 24 independent variables after adjusting for the proportion of older people (65 years or more) and population density.
RESULTS: Multivariate linear regression analyses revealed that the large number of public health nurses per 100,000 population, a good self-reported health status, and a high proportion of older workers were significantly associated with long DFLE65s for both genders.
CONCLUSIONS: These three factors could potentially explain the differences in DFLE of the older population in Japan.
J Epidemiol 2005; 15:219-227.