Increasing of obesity people is a global health problem in a lot of countries including Japan. Promoting policies to increase the awareness of and changed attitudes toward physical activity and encouraging greater participation from people in such an activity is important from the perspective of sound financing policies for health care in Japan. This paper’s purpose is to test the hypothesis that physical activity affects the frequency of and the medical expenses incurred for treating diabetes and hypertension in a prefecture.
This study’s data were taken from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey, Patient Surveys, the Survey of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists, the Report on Health Center Activities and Health Services for the Aged, and Social Indicators by Prefecture. The method is least-squares regression analysis with prefectural data. Physical activity is defined by sports-related expenses as a proxy variable. The variable of medical expenses incurred for treating hypertension and diabetes is defined as the money spent on medical treatment for each household. The frequency of diabetes and hypertension is defined as data per 100,000 people.
The results showed that sports-related expenses were negatively related to the frequency of and the medical expenses incurred for treating diabetes and hypertension. The coefficients of the following factors are as given medical expenses incurred for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension: −0.00585, coefficient of the frequency of diabetes: −0.4942, and coefficient of the frequency of hypertension: −0.1005. Since all the three factors are negative values, it shows that physical activity has the possibility to reduce both medical expenses incurred for treating of diabetes and hypertension and frequency of diabetes and hypertension.