Alterations in physique among young children after the Great East Japan Earthquake: Results from a nationwide survey

Masahiro Kikuya, Hiroko Matsubara, Mami Ishikuro, Yuki Sato, Taku Obara, Hirohito Metoki, Tsuyoshi Isojima, Susumu Yokoya, Noriko Kato, Toshiaki Tanaka, Shoichi Chida, Atsushi Ono, Mitsuaki Hosoya, Hiroshi Yokomichi, Zentaro Yamagata, Soichiro Tanaka, Shigeo Kure, Shinichi Kuriyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Data for earthquake-related alterations in physique among young children in developed countries is lacking. The Great East Japan Earthquake caused severe damage in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures in northeastern Japan. Methods: We retrospectively obtained anthropometric measurements in nursery school from 40,046 (cohort 1, historical control) and 53,492 (cohort 2) children aged 3.5-4.5 years without overweight in October 2008, and in October 2010, respectively. At the time of the earthquake in March, 2011, children in cohort 1 had already graduated from nursery school; however, children in cohort 2 were still enrolled in nursery school at this time. We compared the onset of overweight at 1 year after the baseline between children enrolled in their school located in one of the three target prefectures versus those in other prefectures using a logistic regression model, with adjustment for sex, age, history of disease, and obesity index at baseline. Overweight was defined as an obesity index of > +15%, which was calculated as (weight minus sex- and height-specific standard weight)/sex- and height-specific standard weight. Results: The odds ratio (OR) for the onset of overweight in the three target prefectures was significant in cohort 2 (OR 1.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01-1.55) but not in cohort 1. When the two cohort were pooled (n = 93,538), the OR of the interaction term for school location × cohort was significant (OR 1.56; 95% CI, 1.09-2.23). Conclusions: Incident overweight in young children was significantly more common in the three prefectures affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake than in other prefectures after the disaster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-468
Number of pages7
Journaljournal of epidemiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Childhood obesity
  • Earthquake
  • Physical growth
  • Tsunami

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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