In the national ranking of average life expectancy announced in December last year, Shiga Prefecture ranked first for men and second for women, not Okinawa or Nagano!

Why did the people of Shiga Prefecture live longer?


Until Shiga becomes a longevity prefecture

There are probably few people who think of Shiga Prefecture as an area of ​​longevity.

That should be it.

Shiga Prefecture has not always been a longevity prefecture.

This is the transition of Shiga Prefecture in the national average life expectancy ranking.

In 1975, it was ranked 22nd for men and 37th for women.

That's how it got higher and higher, and it was the result of this time.

When I researched the secret, three "en" emerged.

Secret 1 = “salt”…reduced salt

In order to find out the secret of longevity in Shiga Prefecture, I visited a workshop held in Higashiomi City.

Volunteer “health promoters” are participating.

About 3200 people are registered in Shiga Prefecture.

Before the pandemic, this health promotion member was going around each household and giving advice on meals.

The most important thing is the intake of salt.

Excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure and stroke.

The purpose is to measure the salt content of miso soup in each household and make them aware of the amount of salt they usually consume.

In fact, this time, our interview team also had the miso soup we made at home measure the salt content.

The ideal is 0.8% or less.

The result is 1.2%.

It seems that the miso soup of the home of the interview team was quite salty.

Salt intake in Shiga Prefecture is below the national average, and according to a 2016 survey by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, it was the fifth lowest among men.

It is said that these grassroots activities by health promoters spread salt reduction and led to improvements in dietary habits.

Secret 2 = “Smoke”…No smoking

The second is tobacco.

In fact, Shiga Prefecture had a high male smoking rate.

In 2001, in an effort to reduce the risk of lung cancer and other diseases, the prefecture set the unprecedented goal of halving the smoking rate.

When I visited a cafe in Kusatsu City, there was a sign saying "no passive smoking" inside the store.

Since 2004, when there were still many restaurants where people could smoke, Shiga Prefecture has called for zero passive smoking and has been working to register restaurants.

It is said that this restaurant has been non-smoking since it opened about 20 years ago.


: “I really thought that it might not be good for my health, so I wanted to avoid a situation where I smoked even though I didn’t smoke.”

As a result of steady efforts, the smoking rate has decreased for both men and women.

Especially for men, it has dropped from 56% to 29%.

Shiga Prefectural Health, Medical and Welfare Department Director Fumihiko Kadono

: “It’s easy to understand, isn’t it?

Secret 3 = “connection”…en, connection

The third “en” is the “en” of connections. The

symbol of this is “Reycadia University” established by Shiga Prefecture.

Elderly people lining up for lectures are learning about health and community activities.

Calligraphy and table tennis are also included as extracurricular activities.

The prefecture is playing a central role in expanding efforts to prevent the elderly from becoming lonely.


“I think that having the energy to come out here is the key to living a long life.”

Some people have made new connections here.


“When we took a group photo, we happened to be next to each other, and from there we started working together.

Experts familiar with public health point out that these comprehensive measures for both physical and mental health are contributing to longevity in Shiga Prefecture.

Professor Katsuyuki Miura, Shiga University of Medical Science

"I think that if the mind becomes positive, it will be possible to try new things and make good lifestyle habits. Shiga is trying to become a model for the whole country. I would like the prefecture to move forward even further.”

Next is "vegetable intake"

Shiga Prefecture is working to reach even greater heights.

an increase in vegetable intake.

This is an event hosted by Shiga Prefecture at a supermarket in Kusatsu City.

Put your palm on the machine and measure whether you are getting enough vegetables.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare recommends the intake of 350 grams of vegetables per day, but the intake in Shiga Prefecture is 280 grams.

We are trying to raise the awareness of the citizens of the prefecture by holding events in various parts of the prefecture to reach 350 grams.

By the way, when the reporter who interviewed me measured it, the amount of vegetable intake was less than 150 grams.

I was advised to take more green and yellow vegetables such as carrots and Japanese mustard spinach because it was "a low number that I have never seen before".

Behind Shiga Prefecture's longevity, there are three "en" that prevent lifestyle-related diseases and the isolation of the elderly.

Through this interview, I was impressed by the fact that everyone, including those walking along the shores of Lake Biwa and those attending lectures at Reycadia University, seemed to enjoy aiming for longevity and were very energetic.

I felt that it was very important that people in the community were connected and a good circulation was born.

Interview with NHK Otsu Broadcasting Station mascot character Biwappi at


Temple in Omihachiman City Otsu

Broadcasting Station reporter Takayuki Kadowaki

Osaka Broadcasting Station reporter Yohei Nishizaki


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