Frequency of forest walking is not associated with prevalence of hypertension based on cross-sectional studies of a general Japanese population: a reconfirmation by the J-MICC Daiko Study

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Abstract

Forest walking or Shinrin-yoku is a health promotion activity in Japan. Although some studies have reported the acute effects of walking a few hours in forested areas in reducing blood pressure level compared to other environments, studies investigating whether successive walking has long-term effects in lowering blood pressure levels or lowering prevalence of hypertension are rare. This study aimed to reconfirm the presence or absence of an association between the frequency of forest walking and prevalence of hypertension in a Japanese population. This J-MICC Daiko Study was conducted targeting residents in Nagoya City. A total of 5,109 participants (1,452 men and 3,657 women; age, mean ± standard deviation: 52.5 ± 10.3 years) were included in the analysis. Age-adjusted blood pressure level by frequency of forest walking was not significant. After adjusting for age and lifestyle, the adjusted odds ratios (aORs) of the most frequent group (n=88, 1.7%; once a week or more group) relative to the less than once a month group (n=4,558, 89.2%) for prevalence of hypertension were not also significant [0.80 (95% CI: 0.40–1.62) for men and 1.48 (95% CI: 0.73–3.00) for women]. This study reconfirmed that either lowering blood pressure level or lowering the prevalence of hypertension is not associated with frequency of forest walking, similar to the results of our previous J-MICC Shizuoka Study. Given that these two studies were cross-sectional studies, cohort studies investigating the causal relationship are required to evaluate the effect of frequent forest walking on the prevention of hypertension.

This study was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas of Cancer (No. 17015018), Innovative Areas (No. 221S0001), and JSPS KAKENHI Grant (No. 16H06277 and 18K11065) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan and Foundation for Total Health Promotion, Japan.

Journal

  • Nagoya Journal of Medical Science

    Nagoya Journal of Medical Science 81(3), 489-500, 2019-08

    Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, School of Medicine

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