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Healthy Aging Research


Theme Leader :
Hiroshi Murayama, R.N., P.H.N., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Vice-Chief Researcher :
Yukitoshi Aoyagi, Ph.D.
Researcher :
Satoshi Seino, Ph.D., Yu Nofuji, Ph.D., Mariko Nishi, Ph.D., Yuri Yokoyama, Ph.D., R.D., Mari Yamashita, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher :
Hidenori Amano, M.H.S.
Adjunct Researcher :
Miki Narita, Ph.D., R.D., Yui Tomine, Ph.D., Toshiki Hata, M.S., R.D., Sung-Jin Park, M.Sc., Sunyoung Cho, Ph.D.
Research Fellow :
Takumi Abe, Ph.D., OT.


Healthy aging, Frailty, Intrinsic capacity, Functional capacity, Community system, Social environment, Epidemiological study, Participatory action research

Major Research Titles

  1. 1.Epidemiological research to identify regional challenges and frailty prevention strategies through a self-administered questionnaire survey
  2. 2.Development of a frailty prevention system through participatory action research aiming for problem resolution together with stakeholders in the region


Healthy aging refers to living an autonomous life while maintaining physical, mental, and social functioning.
We are currently working on the proposal and social implementation of a frailty prevention system suited to the unique characteristics of the region with the ultimate goal of “promoting a healthy aging society in Tokyo, Japan.” To accomplish this purpose, we are: 1) conducting epidemiological research to identify regional challenges and frailty prevention strategies through a self-administered questionnaire survey and 2) developing a frailty prevention system through participatory action research aiming for problem resolution together with stakeholders in the region and verifying the results scientifically.
Furthermore, we are dedicating efforts into health communication including the development of a variety of frailty prevention programs and tools (e.g., text books, leaflets, and applications) in order to expand this frailty prevention model to other regions.
Specifically, research is underway in the following fields:

1) Ota Study (Ota City, Tokyo)
In 2016, we began working on the development of a metropolitan model intended to delay frailty and extend healthy lifespan in the region as a whole. The key concept of the metropolitan model is “Frailty Prevention in All Activities,” in which the numerous facilities of the region have collaborated in incorporating anti-frailty elements, such as muscle strengthening activities and dietary variety, into all settings regarding daily community activities and personal life. This project is extending frailty prevention efforts using texts and tools created in a three-year model program to incorporate anti-frailty elements into a variety of initiatives when possible.

2) Yabu Study (Yabu City, Hyogo)
In 2011, we signed a joint research agreement with Yabu City and evaluated long-term care prevention activities through a population approach. We organized a weekly class on frailty prevention in each district as a continuous initiative starting in 2014. The biggest advantage of this initiative was that a trained Silver Human Resources Center staff member visited each location and held the class for a certain period as part of their job. Beginning in 2012, every five years we have been administering a questionnaire survey to all individuals 65 years and older and collecting data including outcomes (i.e., death, transfer), need for long-term care certification, and medical/long-term care expenses in order to verify the effects of these initiatives. The “Yabu Model” has been expanded to the Saitama Prefecture (Silver Human Resources Center Association).

3) Kesennuma Study (Kesennuma City, Miyagi)
In November 2018, we entered into a “comprehensive collaboration agreement” with Kesennuma City and have been working together on community development for health and longevity. In 2019, our research team carried out a community diagnosis through a self-administered questionnaire survey of 10,000 older adults living in Kesennuma City. Based on the results of this survey, we will work with the local government and community residents to increase the places older adults regularly visit to improve their functioning. The results of these efforts will be verified later.

4) Nakanojo Study (Nakanojo City, Gunma)
We also continue working on the Nakanojo Study, in which we are conducting objective and long-term monitoring of daily activities and behaviors of older adults using an accelerometer in order to clarify the relationship between health promotion and disease prevention in this population. This study will also reveal patterns related to the optimal amount, quality, and timing of physical activities for health and longevity.


1) Ota Study (Ota City, Tokyo)

  1. 1.Taniguchi Y, Seino S, Nishi M, Tomine Y, Tanaka I, Yokoyama Y, Ikeuchi T, Kitamura A, Shinkai S. Association of Dog and Cat Ownership with Incident Frailty among Community-Dwelling Elderly Japanese. Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 9;9(1):18604. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54955-9.
  2. 2.Taniguchi Y, Seino S, Nishi M, Tomine Y, Tanaka I, Yokoyama Y, Amano H, Kitamura A, Shinkai S. Physical, social, and psychological characteristics of community-dwelling elderly Japanese dog and cat owners. PLoS One. 2018 Nov 14;13(11):e0206399. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206399. eCollection 2018.
  3. 3.Seino S, Kitamura A, Tomine Y, Tanaka I, Nishi M, Taniguchi Y, Yokoyama Y, Amano H, Fujiwara Y, Shinkai S. Exercise Arrangement Is Associated With Physical and Mental Health in Older Adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Jun;51(6):1146-1153. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001884.
  4. 4.Seino S, Kitamura A, Nishi M, Tomine Y, Tanaka I, Taniguchi Y, Yokoyama Y, Amano H, Narita M, Ikeuchi T, Fujiwara Y, Shinkai S. Individual- and community-level neighbor relationships and physical activity among older Japanese adults living in a metropolitan area: a cross-sectional multilevel analysis. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2018 May 25;15(1):46. doi: 10.1186/s12966-018-0679-z.
  5. 5.Seino S, Kitamura A, Tomine Y, Tanaka I, Nishi M, Nonaka K, Nofuji Y, Narita M, Taniguchi Y, Yokoyama Y, Amano H, Ikeuchi T, Fujiwara Y, Shinkai S. A Community-Wide Intervention Trial for Preventing and Reducing Frailty Among Older Adults Living in Metropolitan Areas: Design and Baseline Survey for a Study Integrating Participatory Action Research With a Cluster Trial. J Epidemiol. 2019 Feb 5;29(2):73-81. doi: 10.2188/jea.JE20170109. Epub 2018 Jun 30.

2) Yabu Study (Yabu City, Hyogo)

  1. 1.Abe T, Nofuji Y, Seino S, Murayama H, Yoshida Y, Tanigaki T, Yokoyama Y, Narita M, Nishi M, Kitamura A, Shinkai S. Healthy lifestyle behaviors and transitions in frailty status among independent community-dwelling older adults: The Yabu cohort study. Maturitas. in press
  2. 2.Murayama H, Nofuji Y, Matsuo E, Nishi M, Taniguchi Y, Fujiwara Y, Shinkai S. Are neighborhood bonding and bridging social capital protective against depressive mood in old age? a multilevel analysis in Japan. Soc Sci Med. 2015 Jan;124:171-9. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.11.042. Epub 2014 Nov 20.
  3. 3.Murayama H, Nofuji Y, Matsuo E, Nishi M, Taniguchi Y, Fujiwara Y, Shinkai S. The Yabu cohort study: design and profile of participants at baseline. J Epidemiol. 2014;24(6):519-25. Epub 2014 Sep 6.

4) Nakanojo Study (Nakanojo City, Gunma)

  1. 1.Aoyagi Y, Amamoto R, Park S, Honda Y, Shimamoto K, Kushiro A, Tsuji H, Matsumoto H, Shimizu K, Miyazaki K, Matsubara S, Shephard R.J. Independent and Interactive Effects of Habitually Ingesting Fermented Milk Products Containing Lactobacillus casei Strain Shirota and of Engaging in Moderate Habitual Daily Physical Activity on the Intestinal Health of Older People. Front Microbiol. 2019;10:1477. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01477. eCollection 2019.
  2. 2.Cho S, Park S, Takahashi S, Yoshiuchi K, Shephard R.J, Aoyagi Y. Changes in and Interactions between Physical and Mental Health in Older Japanese: the Nakanojo Study. Gerontology.2019;65(4):340-352. doi: 10.1159/000494383. Epub 2018 Dec 19.
  3. 3.Aoyagi Y, Park S, Cho S, Shephard R.J. Objectively measured habitual physical activity and sleep-related phenomena in 1645 people aged 1-91 years: The Nakanojo Community Study. Prev Med Rep. 2018;11:180-186. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.06.013. eCollection 2018 Sep.
  4. 4.Aoyagi Y, Park S, Matsubara S, Honda Y, Amamoto R, Kushiro A, Miyazaki K, Shephard R.J. Habitual intake of fermented milk products containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota and a reduced risk of hypertension in older people. Benef Microbes. 2017;8(1):23-29. doi: 10.3920/BM2016.0135. Epub 2016 Dec 1.
  5. 5.Shephard R.J, Park H, Park S, Aoyagi Y. Objective Longitudinal Measures of Physical Activity and Bone Health in Older Japanese: the Nakanojo Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017;5(4):800-807. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14553. Epub 2016 Dec 9.
  6. 6.Ayabe M, Park S Shephard R.J, Aoyagi Y. Fitness or physical activity? Associations of pedometer/ accelerometer data and maximal walking speeds with pulse wave velocities in the Nakanojo Study. J Aging Phys Act. 2015; 12(1):139-144. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2012-0374. Epub 2014 Apr 11.
  7. 7.Shephard R.J. and Aoyagi Y. Physical activity and the risk of cardio-metabolic disease in the elderly: dose recommendations as seen in the Nakanojo Study. Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports. 2014; 8(7):387-394.
  8. 8.Shephard R.J, Park H, Park S, Aoyagi Y. Objectively measured physical activity and progressive loss of lean tissue in older Japanese adults: longitudinal data from the Nakanojo Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013; 61(11):1887-1893. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12505. Epub 2013 Oct 28.
  9. 9.Aoyagi Y, Shephard R.J. Sex differences in relationships between habitual physical activity and health in the elderly: Practical implications for epidemiologists based on pedometer/ accelerometer data from the Nakanojo Study. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2013;56(2):327-338. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2012.11.006. Epub 2013 Jan 9.
  10. 10.Shephard R.J., Aoyagi Y. Sex differences in habitual physical activity of the elderly: Issues of measurement, activity patterns, barriers and health response. Health Fitness J Can. 2013;6:3-7.
  11. 11.Yamada Y, Nishida T, Ichihara S, Kato K, Fujimaki T, Oguri M, Horibe H, Yoshida T, Watanabe S, Satoh K, Aoyagi Y, Fukuda M, Sawabe M. Identification of chromosome 3q28 and ALPK1 as susceptibility loci for chronic kidney disease in Japanese individuals by a genome-wide association study. J Med Genet. 2013;50(6):410-418. doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2013-101518. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

※The information mentioned above is current as of May 2020.