To examine the impact of health-related lifestyle upon medical care utilization and its costs, we conducted a cohort study among all National Health Insurance beneficiaries aged from 40 to 79 years living in the catchment area of Ohsaki Public Health Center, Miyagi, Japan. The baseline survey, using self-completed questionnaire regarding health-related lifestyle, was conducted between October and December 1994. Out of 54, 996 eligible subjects, 52, 029 (94.6%) responded and formed the cohort under study. Medical care utilization (number of outpatient visits and days of inpatient care) and the costs for each subject have been obtained from National Health Insurance Claim History files since January 1995. The baseline characteristics of health-related lifestyle and medical history at the study subjects were consistent with those at our another cohort subjects (so-called Miyagi cohort study; N=47, 605), which included all the residents aged from 40 to 64 years at 14 municiparities in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan conducted in 1990. The medical costs per capita in this cohort was quite compatible with the national average. This prospective cohort study would quantitatively demonstrate the economic impact of health-related lifestyle, thus would lead us to better provision of cost-effective preventive health services. J Epidemiol, 1998 ; 8 : 258-263.
Japan Epidemiological Association