Press release: Worry about crime and loneliness: Examining the association in nine former Soviet countries

A paper by Research Fellow Andrew Stickley has been published in SSM Population Health.

This study was undertaken by  researchers from the Department of Social Epidemiology at Kyoto University (Dr Andrew Stickley, Professor Naoki Kondo, Dr Mariko Kanamori, Dr Shiho Kino, Doctoral Student Yuki Arakawa)  together with colleagues from the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine (Dr Yosuke Inoue) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Professor Martin McKee).

Results showed that compared to individuals who had no worry about crime, those who had a high level of worry were significantly more likely to be lonely.

The results of this research highlight the close link between crime-related factors and health and wellbeing and lend support to the recent call for public health and law enforcement to work more closely together.

Andrew Stickley, Naoki Kondo, Yosuke Inoue, Mariko Kanamori, Shiho Kino, Yuki Arakawa, Martin McKee.Worry about crime and loneliness in nine countries of the former Soviet Union. SSM Population Heallth. 2023 Mar; 21:101316.



Worry about crime has been linked to several detrimental outcomes including worse mental health. However, there has been little research on the association between worry about crime and loneliness, even though loneliness is increasingly being recognised as a serious public health issue. To address this deficit, this study examined the association between worry about crime and loneliness in nine countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine), using data from 18,000 respondents aged 18 and above that were collected during the Health in Times of Transition (HITT) survey in 2010/11. Results from a pooled logistic regression analysis showed that compared to those who reported no worry about crime, individuals with a high level of worry had significantly higher odds of loneliness (odds ratio [OR]: 1.43, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.17–1.75). Sex- and age-stratified analyses further showed that the association was observed in women with a mid (OR: 1.37, 95%CI: 1.10–1.71) and a high level (OR: 1.70, 95%CI: 1.33–2.17) of worry about crime but not in men, and that a high level of worry about crime was linked to loneliness in adults aged 35–59 (OR: 1.39, 95%CI: 1.02–1.91) and 60 and above (OR: 1.64, 95%CI: 1.12–2.40) but not in those aged 18–34. High levels of worry about crime are associated with loneliness in the FSU countries. Reducing crime and its associated worries may have important public health benefits in these countries.

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Press release:Entertainment-based health program incorporates game elements to improve metabolic syndrome and reduce weight, abdominal circumference, and obesity(Hakuhodo, Checkup Championship)

Doctoral student Nagata and Assistant Professor Sato’s  paper has been published in Preventive Medicine.

The Social Epidemiology Department, together with Hakuhodo DY Holdings Inc., has demonstrated in a study of metabolic syndrome that people who participated in the new workplace health promotion program “Checkup championship” improved their health checkup results compared to those who did not participate.

” Checkup championship” is a health program developed by Hakuhodo DY Holdings Inc. that utilizes several elements of behavioral science, such as commitment, incentives, and gamification, and incorporates innovations to make it enjoyable.

The results showed that people who participated in an entertaining health program had improved metabolic syndrome-related test values compared to those who did not participate in the program. In addition, we observed greater reductions in weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol among participants who were with two or more risk factors for metabolic syndrome than other participants.

Our findings suggest that participation in a health promotion program that incorporates behavioral science elements may lead to improvement of metabolic syndrome and correction of health disparities in the workplace.

Nagata H., Sato K., Haseda M., Kobayashi Y., Kondo N. A novel behavioral science-based health checkup program and subsequent metabolic risk reductions in a workplace: Checkup championship. Preventive Medicine. 2022 Nov; 164:107271.


The effectiveness of general health checkups and lifestyle counseling has been questioned. This study examined whether a workplace health promotion program implemented during a health checkup was associated with metabolic syndrome-related indicators. Hakuhodo DY group, one of Japan’s largest advertising agencies, implemented a behavioral science-based program called “Checkup Championship” (Kenshin-sen in Japanese) in 2019, in which all employees could voluntarily participate. We studied 3697 employees (2818 men and 879 women, mean age: 40.7 years), consisting of 1509 program participants and 2188 non-participants. The characteristics of participants and non-participants were balanced using inverse probability weighting. We used their data from the health checkups in 2018 and 2019 together with other covariates and performed a difference-in-differences analysis using a linear mixed model. After program implementation, greater reductions were observed among participants compared with non-participants in weight (−0.66 kg, 95% confidence interval: −0.84 to −0.47), body mass index (−0.23 kg/m2, −0.29 to −0.16), waist circumference (−0.67 cm, −0.91 to −0.43), systolic blood pressure (−1.13 mmHg, −2.10 to −0.16), and diastolic blood pressure (−0.84 mmHg, −1.53 to −0.15). In addition, we observed greater reductions in weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol among participants who were with two or more risk factors for metabolic syndrome than other participants. We found that participation in a health checkup program based on behavioral science was associated with reduced metabolic syndrome-related indicators. There may be room for improvement in the effectiveness of general health checkups.


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Click here for more information about the “Checkup championship”

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New article: Distance to retail stores and risk of being homebound among older adults in a city severely affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake

Our new paper was published from the journal: Age and Ageing! The paper was free for download!


Background: after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, inactivity and the homebound status of older victims in affected areas have been a serious public health concern owing to the victims’ prolonged existence as evacuees in mountainous areas.

Objective: to evaluate the association between distances to retail stores and risks of being homebound.

Design: secondary analysis of cross-sectional interview survey data with a geographical information analysis.

Setting: Rikuzentakata, Iwate, a municipality seriously damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Subjects: all Rikuzentakata residents aged 65 or older except for those living in temporary housing (n = 2,327).

Methods: we calculated road distances between each residential address and retail stores, hawker sites and shopping bus stops, accounting for the extra load caused by walking on slopes. The prevalence ratio of being homebound adjusted for age, source of income and morbidity by road distance was estimated using Poisson regression with a generalised estimating equation.

Results: those living at distances of 1,200 m or more were 1.78 (95% confidence intervals, 1.03–3.08) times more likely to be homebound (going out only every 4 or more days a week) among men and 1.85 (1.13-3.02) among women, compared with those residing in places

Conclusions: access to daily needs is essential to prevent homebound status. Post-disaster community diagnosis in terms of the built environment is important for strategic community restoration.

New paper: Rising inequality in mortality among working-age Swedes

Our new paper was published from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The paper is Open Access:

In the past two decades, health inequality has persisted or increased in states with comprehensive welfare.

We conducted a national registry-based repeated cohort study with a 3-year follow-up between 1990 and 2007 in Sweden.

Information on all-cause mortality in all working-age Swedish men and women aged between 30 and 64 years was collected.

Among men, age-standardised mortality rate decreased by 38.3% from 234.9 to 145 (per 100 000 population) over the whole period in the highest income quintile, whereas the reduction was only 18.3% (from 774.5 to 632.5) in the lowest quintile.

Among women, mortality decreased by 40% (from 187.4 to 112.5) in the highest income group, but increased by 12.1% (from 280.2 to 314.2) in the poorest income group.

The differences in age-standardised mortality between the highest and the lowest income quintiles decreased among men by 18.85 annually between 1990 and 1994 (p trend=0.02), whereas it increased later, with a 2.88 point increase per year (p trend <0.0001).

Among women, it continuously increased by 9.26/year (p trend <0.0001). In relative terms, age-adjusted mortality rate ratios showed a continuous increase in both genders.

Income-based inequalities among working-age male and female Swedes have increased since the late 1990s, whereas in absolute terms the increase was less remarkable among men. Structural and behavioural factors explaining this trend, such as the worst-ever economic recession in the early 1990s, should be studied further.