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Focal Point on Early Health Interventions

Japan has some of the lowest birth weight babies in the developed world. A collaboration between tech giant Hitachi and Hokkaido University has been developing and evaluating the effectiveness of community interventions, connectivity and programmes, with lessons for people all over the world.

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Tackling issues like low birth weight could help reduce the incidence later in life of diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So why isn’t more being done?

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A successful long-term partnership between Hokkaido University and Hitachi has recently yielded a study that helped to significantly reduce the number of underweight births in the city of Iwamizawa, Japan. We spoke to Professor Kiyohiro Houkin, President of Hokkaido University, Dr Norihiro Suzuki, Chief Technology Officer at Hitachi, and Dr Hideaki Koizumi, Emeritus Fellow of Hitachi, about innovations with global impact, and how they must first be able to transform the lives of local citizens.

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Data on social connections is helping researchers forecast future health needs by city block, while energy grid modelling and digital innovation promises easy and independent neighbourhoods.

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University of Tsukuba researchers study how anti-infammatory foods, step-memorization exercises and sleep contribute to health in older people.

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