Associated factors related to participation in general health checkup and survey of the effect of low-dose radiation exposure on health of residents of Fukushima Prefecture after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident
Moriyama, N.; Nakayama, C.; Orui, M.; Kuroda, Y.; Iwasa, H.; Horiuchi, T.; Nakayama, T.; Sugita, M.; Yasumura, S.
Preventive Medicine Reports 20: 101214
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident caused radioactive contamination of the surrounding area. In addition to annual health checkups, a survey of the effects of low-dose radiation exposure on health among Fukushima Prefecture residents after the accident has been conducted. Despite health literacy (HL) being recognized as essential to health, its association with participation in these checkups and the survey remains unknown. We aimed to describe the HL status of the Fukushima Prefecture residents and to verify the hypothesis that HL is associated with participation in both checkup and survey. In a cross-sectional study, a questionnaire was sent to 2000 randomly sampled Fukushima Prefecture residents; data from 770 individuals were analyzed. Communicative and critical HL were measured using a 5-point scale. Factors associated with participation were examined using logistic regression. The survey's valid response rate was 38.5%. The average HL score was 3.11 ± 0.81. HL was not associated with checkup or survey participation. Checkup participation was negatively associated with radiation anxiety (odds ratio 0.93, 95% confidence interval 0.86-0.99, p = 0.03). The HL of Fukushima Prefecture residents after the accident was relatively lower than that of the Japanese general population, which may be attributed to difference in educational background. The complexities involved in understanding the effects of radiation on the health of residents could explain why no association between HL and participation in a health checkup and survey was observed. Future studies with a longitudinal design should clarify causality between anxiety and checkup participation.