2001 Volume 11 Issue 6sup Pages 57-74
A self-reported questionnaire on the health status, life habits, and social background was conducted at baseline in the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study on Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases (JPHC study). This report presents the outcome of the study regarding past or family history of various diseases, medical treatment, life habits such as physical labor or sports, and social background among study participants. In both cohorts I and II, prevalent past and family history included hypertension, stroke, and cancer, whereas the prevalence of coronary heart diseases was historically low. The prevalence of a past history of hypertension and stroke was higher in the northern part of Japan, Ninohe, and Yokote, and lower in Okinawa, compared to the other districts. The prevalence of participants with a history of stomach cancer and liver cancer was higher in Arikawa than in other districts. The frequency of participants who took medication from doctors ranged from 20% to 30%, higher in the Tohoku areas, and lower in Okinawa compared to the other districts. All districts showed a high rate of over 70% for the participation rate for basic health examination conducted by the local government, The rate was particularly high in the Tohoku area where a high prevalence of a history of hypertension was found. The frequency of persons who had a chance to participate in sports or physical exercise was high in Okinawa and Suita subcohort 2, although the mean total physical activity (both at work and for leisure time) was lowest in the latter subcohort. No substantial differences were found in compositions of personality among districts. The frequency of more active and positive persons, however, was relatively higher in urban areas and lower in Okinawa compared to the other districts. The association between the differences of health status, life habits, and social background and the occurrence of various lifestyle-related diseases will be clarified in a follow-up study within the JPHC study. J Epidemiol, 2001 ; 11 (Suppl) : S57-S74.