Dr. Tsubokura's Radiation Lecture Vol.116

Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D., PhD., Yuki Senoo


231. The health impact of environmental changes

16.06.2019

 After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011, radiation exposure became one of the most significant health concerns, and various investigations and countermeasures were required. However, the level of radiation exposure was efficiently suppressed, and the health issues resulting from complications other than radiation exposure remain to be discussed.


 Changes in our living environment have a significant impact on our health, even without us noticing. When we move to a new place, it is not only the house that changes but also the nearest shops and the people we interact with. Further, this change affects our eating and sleeping habits and, more importantly, our help-seeking behaviors. As mentioned in the previous article, repeated changes in the living environment, such as forced evacuation and residency in temporary housing after the nuclear disaster, had a significant impact on the health of residents of Fukushima Prefecture.


 In addition to radiation exposure, lifestyle changes in Fukushima Prefecture remain a significant health concern that requires contentious attention. Changes in the living environment include moving into disaster-recovery public housing, building new houses, relocating to their original homes in evacuation-designated zones after lifting of the evacuation order, and the super-aging impact on the local society. Recovery from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster will continue to necessitate a significant living environment for residents.


 Of course, people are eventually able to adapt to these lifestyle changes, but the particular focus should be given to the period immediately after the change in environment up until they get used to it. Moreover, sharing information, maintaining contact, and taking care of each other within the local community become particularly important after changes in the environment.



232. Association between lifestyle-related diseases and active community participation

 After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011, radiation exposure became one of the most significant health concerns, and various investigations and countermeasures were required. However, the level of radiation exposure was efficiently suppressed, and the health issues resulting from complications other than radiation exposure remain to be discussed.


 Many readers probably already know that lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and elevated cholesterol levels have worsened in many areas in Fukushima Prefecture since the nuclear disaster. It is no exaggeration to say that lifestyle-related diseases are a major public health issue today because they can cause myocardial and brain infarction as well as lead to cancer development.


 As the name “lifestyle-related disease” implies, improvement of lifestyle habits, including diet and exercise practice crucial to prevent lifestyle-related disease development. However, it would help if you did not blame yourself or others for weak personal willpower or when these daily habits do not seem to improve.


 It is undoubtedly difficult for a person with many business dinners or nightshift hours to modify his or her lifestyle. It is also difficult for someone who does not have time or free space around the house to exercise frequently. 


 Lifestyle-related diseases are not an issue that an individual can tackle by him- or herself, but it is instead a health issue that should be solved through cooperation with co-workers and family members.




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The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, 16th and 23rd June 2019 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.

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