The Associations between Evacuation Status and Lifestyle-Related Diseases in Fukushima after the Great East Japan Earthquake: The Fukushima Health Management Survey

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 6;19(9):5661. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19095661.


Background: This study aimed to investigate the association between evacuation status and lifestyle-related disease risks among Fukushima residents following the Great East Japan earthquake.

Methods: Fukushima health management survey respondents were classified into non-evacuees, returnees, evacuees in lifted areas, and evacuees in banned areas. During a seven-year follow-up, 22,234 men and 31,158 women were included. Those with a history of diabetes, hypertension, or dyslipidemia at baseline were excluded. The odds ratios of risk factors (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia were calculated using a logistic regression model. Spatial autocorrelation of the prevalence of these diseases in the Fukushima area in 2017, was calculated to detect the disease prevalence status.

Results: The risks of diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia were higher in evacuees in banned areas than in non-evacuees; the multivariable ORs were 1.32 (95% CI: 1.19-1.46), 1.15 (1.06-1.25), and 1.20 (1.11-1.30) for diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, respectively. Returnees and evacuees in lifted areas had no increased risk of diseases. The area analyzed had a non-uniform spatial distribution of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, with clusters around Fukushima and Koriyama.

Conclusion: Our findings imply the need for continuous support for evacuees in banned areas.

Keywords: Great East Japan earthquake; cardiovascular and metabolic diseases; disaster; disease prevalence status; evacuation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Earthquakes*
  • Female
  • Fukushima Nuclear Accident*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Life Style
  • Male

Grant support

This survey was supported by the Japan National Health Fund for Children and Adults Affected by the Nuclear Incident; the Institute for Transdisciplinary Graduate Degree Programs of Osaka University, the Projects for Leading Graduate Schools on Interdisciplinary Program for Biomedical Science; the Network-type Joint Usage/Research Center for Radiation Disaster Medical Science, the Projects for Research on risk communication regarding radiation disasters; the Japan’s Science and Technology Agency, Projects for Support for Pioneering Research Initiated by the Next Generation (grant number JPMJSP2138); and Research Project on Health Effects of Radiation organized by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.