Okinawa prefecture is remote 500 km from southern tip of mainland Japan. The unique characteristics of the traditional culture in Okinawa are ancestor worship which includes various kinds of ceremonies, folk therapy, the "Yuta" (shairman and traditional healing practitioner) and the great burial tombs. In this study, to clarify how ancestor worship is related to the health/medical behavior of the people in the prefecture, a questionnaire survey was carried out on 176 mothers of students in 4 classes of 6th grade in 2 elementary schools in Urasoe city and in Yomitan village. The frequency of participation of each respondent in anniversaries concerning ancestor worship was used to indicate the magnitude of belief in ancestor worship. The mean of this frequency was higher for Yomitan village than for Urasoe city. The mean was also related to bio-social parameters such as family size, fertility, an extended family household, and the dependency on folk therapy such as the "Yuta". It was also revealed that people prefer thinking according to traditional beliefs about ancestors for solving various distress problems such as a serious illness.
There has been a rapid growth in the number of physicians in Korea. However, increase of the number of physicians does not satisfy needs for the national medical care; the distribution in the urban and rural areas is geographically unbalanced. Statistically reviewing and analyzing all existing data from Korea and Japan, the following results were obtained: Seventy-six percent of all medical facilities are located in urban areas, for example most general hospital are also in urban areas (88.7%). Also, 86.3% of total physicians in 1975, 89.5% in 1980, 87.2% in 1984 and 89.8% in 1987 respectively worked in urban areas. It meant that most physicians had been served in the urban. Furthermore, only 5.5% of specialists worked in the rural areas in spite of the overproduction of specialists in the entire country. Such an unbalance has been a result of the economic, professional and individual desire and life-styles of physicians, also the number of hospital beds and the density of community population. In Japan, both distribution of medical personnels and facilities are located more balanced than in Korea, so that Japanese situation should be one of models for Korean health policies.
In our previous report (Hayakawa et al., 1987), it was suggested that there occurred some changes in the collagen metabolism among the inhabitants in a cadmium polluted area. The urinary total hydroxyproline (THP) excretion level of female inhabitants in the cadmium polluted area was significantly higher than that of the inhabitants in nonpolluted area, and a positive correlation was observed among the urinary levels of cadmium, T-HP and β2-microglobulin, though the correlation was low. However, it is known that urinary level of T-HP is influenced by the turnover of several tissue collagens other than bone. Therefore, for the confirmation of the above estimation, it is necessary to re-examine the results using the index of bone collagen turnover, which is known to be more reliable. Segrest and Cunningham (1970) pointed out that two hydroxylysine glycosides, 2-O-α-D-glucopyranosyl-O-β-D-galactopyranosyl.5- hydroxylysine (GGH) and O-β-galactopyranosyl-5-hydroxylysine (GH), are the endogenously derived collagen metabolites, not influenced by normal diet. The measurement of urinary GGH and GH levels provides a more quantitative indication in estimating the rate of collagen turnover because the amounts of GGH and GH differ according to the types of collagen and the kinds of tissue. In the present study, the relation between cadmium exposure and bone collagen metabolism reported in our previous study was further evaluated through the measurement of urinary GGH and GH levels in male inhabitants in the area where our previous survey was performed.
Five hundreds fifty one specialists (45 doctors, 417 public health nurses, 76 nutritionsists, 12 dentists and dental hygienists) including one person of unknown profession of maternal and child health who are working in the health centers of Tokyo and Okinawa were interviewed on the guidance of feeding methods of infants, especially about terms used in its process, by mail questionnaire . About 80% of them use the term "dan-nyu" (weaning). Dentists and dental hygienists use more frequently this term than others. The meaning of this term is differently considered not only between the professions but also between specialists of the same profession. More than half of all specialists consider that the appropriate time of?gDan-nyu" is the completion of brest-feeding which is clearly defined as the time of introduction of supprementary food of two third of all infants intake. More than 40% of specialists frequently or sometimes consider that the clear definition of "dan-nyu" is needed.