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Health Effects of a Farming Program to Foster Community Social Capital of a Temporary Housing Complex of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2015

Sho Takahashi*
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
Mikihito Ishiki
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
Naoki Kondo
Affiliation:
University of Tokyo, Department of Health and Social Behavior, School of Public Health, Tokyo, Japan
Aiko Ishiki
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
Takeshi Toriyama
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
Shuko Takahashi
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
Hidenori Moriyama
Affiliation:
Department of Pediatrics, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
Masahiro Ueno
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
Masaaki Shimanuki
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
Toshio Kanno
Affiliation:
Department of Ophthalmology, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan.
Tomoharu Oki
Affiliation:
Department of Pediatrics, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
Kiyoshi Tabata
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to Sho Takahashi, Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Internal Medicine, Rikuzentakata, Japan (e-mail:sho1973@gmail.com).

Abstract

Objective

We launched a health promotion program called the Hamarassen (“let’s get together”) Farm, which provided farming opportunities for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake who resided in temporary housing. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of this program on physical and mental health in terms of bone mineral density (BMD) and a sense of purpose in life.

Methods

Among 39 female participants in whom BMD was evaluated, there were 12 Hamarassen participants, 8 self-farming control subjects, and 19 non-farming control subjects. BMD was measured by calcaneal quantitative ultrasound immediately after the project launch and 5 months later. A sense of purpose in life prior to and 2 months after the project’s commencement was measured in 21 additional Hamarassen participants by use of the K-I Scale. Interviews were also conducted to qualitatively evaluate the effects of the Hamarassen program.

Results

The mean BMD T-score improved by 0.43 in the Hamarassen group, by 0.33 in the self-farming group, and by 0.06 in the controls (p=0.02). Among the 21 Hamarassen participants in whom mental health was evaluated, the average score for a sense of purpose in life improved from 20.5 to 24.9 (p=0.001).

Conclusions

The Hamarassen Farm provided disaster victims with opportunities for social participation, interpersonal interaction, and physical exercise; such opportunities may improve physical and psychosocial well-being. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:103-110)

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2015 

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