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Expanding Health Promotion Efforts:

The national health insurers begin conducting annual health checks of all 40-74 years olds in April 2008.

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan has issued a directive to implement the Healthcare Reform Act of 2006, which mandates that those health insurers under the national health insurance program begin conducting annual health checks of all 40-74 years olds to detect metabolic syndrome or life-style related diseases beginning in April.

For nearly three decades, the Japanese health insurers have covered basic health checks, but under the reform act every insurer must provide its insured in this age group with a comprehensive health screening that includes measurement of waistline as well as the conventional measurements of blood pressure, cholesterol levels, BMI, etc. The new policy is designed to identify “high risk groups” for conditions such as metabolic syndrome and provide them with timely guidance on nutrition, exercise and other life style issues.

The ministry aims at achieving a 70% participation rate in the expanded health check program by 2012 and a 10% decline in the number of people in the “high risk groups” from 2008 to 2012. Additionally, as an incentive for insurers, beginning 2013 each insurer’s required contribution to the National Health Insurance Program for 75 Years Old and Over will be adjusted by the proportion of its insured members receiving health screening.

The directive is part of an increased focus on prevention as the Japanese government is faced with growing health care costs.

Health Expenditure of Life-Style Related Diseases and Death Rate by Causes of Death

●Health Expenditure(2004, trillion Yen)
Health Expenditure

●Death Rate by Causes of Death(2004, %)
Death Rate by Causes of Death

●Death Rate of Malignant Neoplams and Vascular Diseases in Developed Countries
Death Rate of Malignant Neoplams and Vascular Diseases in Developed Countries

Source: Annual Report on Health and Walfare 2006, MHLW

(Contributed by Dr. Masako Osako, Director of ILC Global Alliance Secretariat)

See http://www.mhlw.go.jp (in Japanese) for details.

Source:ILC Policy Report, January 2008
http://www.ilcusa.org/pages/newsroom/newsletters.php

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