As the world dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic’s lockdowns and limitations, researchers at Osaka Metropolitan University undertook a comprehensive study to explore the relationship between changes in human mobility and the impact on medical costs connected with lifestyle-related disorders.
Dr. Haruka Kato and Professor Atsushi Takizawa of Osaka Metropolitan University’s Graduate School of Human Life and Ecology were worried about the detrimental health effects of human movement restrictions and examined the issue from a population health standpoint.
The researchers used boosted tree analysis to examine the nonlinear link between human mobility types and the economic effect of lifestyle-related disorders in Japan.
Walking, driving, and taking public transportation all had varied effects on medical costs, according to the findings. Even during the COVID-19 epidemic, an increase in walking by more than 70 per cent lowered medical costs for lifestyle-related disorders. Walking and public transport had a greater overall influence on medical expenditures in urban prefectures. Furthermore, by increasing public transport use by more than 110 per cent, medical costs were reduced.
In non-metropolitan prefectures, the entire effect of public transport was less than driving, and medical expenditures increased by 80 per cent to 160 per cent. These findings are significant because they provide the average value for each form of human movement in metropolitan and non-metropolitan prefectures, providing insights and direction for future planning.
“Based on the standard values, our findings provide valuable insights for governments and policymakers. They suggest the necessity of other measures beyond restricting walking and public transit during a pandemic,” said Dr. Kato.
“We also point to the need for more walkable cities and sustainable urban planning where people can live without cars and opt for public transit, especially in metropolises.”
(with inputs from ANI)