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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7199-7207; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707199

Accessible Transportation, Geographic Elevation, and Masticatory Ability Among Elderly Residents of a Rural Area

Center for Community-based Health Research and Education (COHRE), Organization for the Promotion of Project Research, Shimane University, 223-8 Enya-cho, Izumo, Shimane 693-8501, Japan
Tominaga Dental Office, 97-3 Yamada, Ohnan-cho, Ohchi, Shimane 696-0313, Japan
Center for Primary Health Care Research, Lund University, Clinical Research Centre (CRC), Building 28, Floor 11, Jan Waldenströms Gata 35, Skåne University Hospital, SE-205 02 Malmö, Sweden
Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Medical School Office Building (MSOB), 251 Campus Drive MC 5411, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Department of Functional Pathology, Shimane University School of Medicine, 89-1 Enya-cho, Izumo, Shimane 693-8501, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 8 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [682 KB, uploaded 26 June 2015]


Given that public transportation networks are often worse in rural areas than in urban areas, rural residents who do not drive can find it difficult to access health-promoting goods, services, and resources related to masticatory ability. Moreover, geographical location, assessed by elevation, could modify this association. The aim of this study was to test whether the association between access to transportation and masticatory ability varied by elevation. Data were collected from a cross-sectional study conducted in Mizuho and Iwami counties, Japan. Objective masticatory ability was evaluated using a test gummy jelly and elevation was estimated by the geographic information systems according to the participant’s address. After excluding subjects with missing data, 672 subjects (Mizuho = 401 and Iwami = 271) were analyzed. After adjustment for potential confounders, being a driver was not significantly associated with masticatory ability among elderly people living at low elevation (≤313 m) in Mizuho county. However, after the same adjustment, being a driver remained significantly associated with increased masticatory ability among elderly at high elevations. Similar findings were observed in Iwami county. Accessible transportation was significantly associated with increased mastication ability in elderly people living at high elevations, but not in those living at low elevations. View Full-Text
Keywords: masticatory ability; accessible transportation; elevation; mountainous area masticatory ability; accessible transportation; elevation; mountainous area
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hamano, T.; Tominaga, K.; Takeda, M.; Sundquist, K.; Nabika, T. Accessible Transportation, Geographic Elevation, and Masticatory Ability Among Elderly Residents of a Rural Area. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 7199-7207.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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