Health effects of a farming program to foster community social capital of a temporary housing complex of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake

Sho Takahashi, Mikihito Ishiki, Naoki Kondo, Aiko Ishiki, Takeshi Toriyama, Shuko Takahashi, Hidenori Moriyama, Masahiro Ueno, Masaaki Shimanuki, Toshio Kanno, Tomoharu Oki, Kiyoshi Tabata

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalDisaster medicine and public health preparedness
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Apr 17
Externally publishedYes


  • Key words preventive health services
  • earthquakes
  • public health practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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