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Sociodemographic patterning of long-term diabetes mellitus control following Japan's 3.11 triple disaster: a retrospective cohort study
  1. Claire Leppold1,2,
  2. Masaharu Tsubokura3,
  3. Akihiko Ozaki4,
  4. Shuhei Nomura5,
  5. Yuki Shimada6,
  6. Tomohiro Morita7,
  7. Sae Ochi7,
  8. Tetsuya Tanimoto8,
  9. Masahiro Kami9,
  10. Yukio Kanazawa3,
  11. Tomoyoshi Oikawa3,
  12. Sarah Hill2
  1. 1Department of Research, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Japan
  2. 2Global Public Health Unit, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Department of Radiation Protection, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Japan
  4. 4Department of Surgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Japan
  5. 5Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
  6. 6Department of Neurosurgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Japan
  7. 7Department of Internal Medicine, Soma Central Hospital, Fukushima, Japan
  8. 8Department of Internal Medicine, Jyoban Hospital of Tokiwakai Group, Iwaki, Japan
  9. 9Medical Governance Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Claire Leppold; cleppold{at}


Objective To assess the sociodemographic patterning of changes in glycaemic control of patients with diabetes affected by the 2011 triple disaster in Japan (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident).

Methods A retrospective cohort study was undertaken with 404 patients with diabetes at a public hospital in Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture. Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels were measured in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to capture changes in glycaemic control postdisaster. Age, sex, urban/rural residency, evacuation status and medication use were also assessed.

Results There was an overall deterioration in glycaemic control after the disaster, with the mean HbA1c rising from 6.77% in 2010 to 6.90% in 2012 (National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program, NGSP). Rural residency was associated with a lower likelihood of deteriorating control (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.84), compared with urban residency. Older age (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.91 to 0.98) was also slightly protective against increased HbA1c. Evacuation and sex were not significant predictors.

Conclusions Patients with diabetes who were affected by Japan's triple disaster experienced a deterioration in their glycaemic control following the disasters. The extent of this deterioration was mediated by sociodemographic factors, with rural residence and older age protective against the effects of the disaster on glycaemic control. These results may be indicative of underlying social determinants of health in rural Japan.


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