Theme Leader :
Akihiko Kitamura, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice-Chief Researcher :
Yukitoshi Aoyagi, Ph.D.
Mariko Nishi, Ph.D., Satoshi Seino, Ph.D., Yuri Yokoyama, Ph.D.,R.D., Yu Nofuji, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher :
Hidenori Amano, M.H.S.
Adjunct Researcher :
Miki Narita, M.Med.Sci., M.Sc., R.D., Sung-Jin Park, M.Sc., Tomoko Ikeuchi, Ph.D., Yui Tomine, Ph.D. Takumi Abe, Ph.D., OT., Mari Yamashita, Ph.D., Sunyoung Cho, Ph.D., Ayako Oura, Ph.D., Shin Takahashi, M.Sc.
Healthy aging, Functional ability, Intrinsic capacity, Trajectory patterns, Long-term care service, Community system, Social environment, Social participation, Social contribution, Epidemiological study
Healthy aging reflects that people live independently while maintaining physical, psychological, and social functions. To achieve healthy aging, we consider two necessary points: 1) maintaining intrinsic capacity (physical and psychological functions) and 2) creating supportive social and physical environments to facilitate healthy lifestyle and access to long-term care services in order to maintain functional ability of individuals with even lower levels of intrinsic capacity. Our research establishes evidence of individuals approach and social system for achieving healthy aging, which enables people to live in their communities with satisfaction.
１．Trajectory patterns of functional ability and intrinsic capacity and associated factors
Our longitudinal data have revealed that physical and cognitive function among older adults can be classified into several specific patterns. For example, approximately half of older adults were classified as having higher cognitive function, whereas 5% of them had lower cognition at age 65 years and showed rapid cognitive decline after age 75 years.
We will focus on specific-aging patterns of functional ability and intrinsic capacity and examine the associations between trajectory patters and life style and/or socioeconomic status. We believe that our study will contribute to strategy development to improve health and longevity outcomes.
2．Development of a community-based comprehensive system to promote healthy aging
In order to achieve healthy aging, promoting a) physical exercise, b) diverse nutrition intake including protein, and c) active social engagement and contributions and social participation at both individual and community levels are important, in addition to managing lifestyle diseases. We have proposed models for frailty prevention in hilly and mountainous suburban areas through a 3-year collaborative research project called “Development of a Community-based Comprehensive System for Prevention of Frailty in Late Life.”
On the basis of past studies, we have launched the Ota Genki Senior Project to construct a model for frailty prevention in the greater Tokyo area. We will examine the effectiveness of these social mechanisms and expand them to other communities.
3．Establishing a guideline of physical activity for community-dwelling older adults
In our ongoing Nakanojo Study, we have obtained the long-term data on physical activity patterns (daily, monthly and seasonal) in a large-scale sample of community-dwelling older persons using pedometers/accelerators. This study aims to establish a guideline of physical activity for promoting health for older adults.