[Research Report] Survey on Health Promotion and Working Women 2018

HGPI published a report summarizing key findings of “Survey on Health Promotion and Working Women 2018”.

With the Government recently promoting the creation of a “society where all women shine,” now, more than ever, women are expected to take charge of their own life plans, including when they become pregnant, when they raise children, where and how they work, and how they make contributions to society. However, social support for the improvement of knowledge and behaviors related to women’s health, and the promotion of women’s health in general, is still insufficient.

This survey focused on health literacy[1] among women related to the issues that affect them. Results were analyzed to test associations between levels of health literacy and socioeconomic behaviors such as presenteeism,[2] health behaviors, and access to healthcare. This survey also examined sources of health information that might be useful for the improvement of health literacy among women.


[1] The ability for an individual to access, understand and utilize necessary information to maintain and promote health
[2] A state where the ability to perform the job (performance) is undermined due to poor physical or mental functionality although the person continues to report for work

Key findings

  • High health literacy was associated with high work performance
  • High health literacy was associated with being able to plan pregnancies and the use of infertility treatment
  • Women with high levels of health literacy were more likely to seek treatment for health symptoms that are specific to women
  • There is high need for education on the mechanisms, prevention, screening, and treatment of diseases that are common among women, as well as when to consult a doctor about these diseases
  • Health check-ups organized by workplaces encourage women to make regular visits to obstetricians/gynecologists

Policy Recommendations

1、Provide the information women need to enable them to take action against women’s health risks

【Government】The Government should take leadership on the creation of school curriculums focusing on the specific areas that women need to know about
【Schools/Academic institutions】Focus on the subjects related to lifelong health management and self-care for women
【Companies】Offer training or seminars to provide employees with necessary information according to their life stages

2、Strengthen health promotional activities to improve health literacy in workplaces

【Government】Include efforts to improve women’s health literacy as a selection criteria for the Government’s Health & Productivity Stock Selection portfolio
【Government/Research institutes】Develop an evaluation method to assess the health promotional activities being implemented by companies
【Companies】Develop a consultation system to improve health literacy levels among women
Improve access to obstetrics & gynecology departments

3、Improve access to obstetrics & gynecology departments

【Companies】Incorporate women-specific diseases into regular check-ups
【Healthcare providers】Communicate to women the necessity of making regular visits to health professionals
【Health facilities】Develop healthcare delivery systems based on client needs
Create environments that ensure women can plan pregnancies and receive infertility treatment as necessary

4、Create environments that ensure women can plan pregnancies and receive infertility treatment as necessary

【Companies】Develop a flexible paid leave system that can be used to take time off of work for as little as a few hours at a time
【Companies】Ensure friendly work atmospheres where women can utilize the opportunities and systems available to them

Overview of the study

  • Organizer: Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI)
  • Method: Online survey
  • Area: across Japan
  • Time: February 2018
  • Participants: 2,000 women between the ages of 18 and 49 who work full-time (both regular and temporary staff)
  • Core team: *
    • Yutaka Osuga (Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo)
    • Naho Morisaki (Chief, Division of Life-course Epidemiology, Department of Social Medicine, National Center for Child Health and Development (NCCHD))
    • Kazumi Kubota (Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Yokohama City University)
    • Shu Suzuki (MSc candidate, Division of Health Sciences and Nursing, Department of Community Health Nursing, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo)
    • Yuko Imamura (Senior Associate, Health and Global Policy Institute)
    • Mariko Oyamada (Vice President, Health and Global Policy Institute)
    • Yukiko Yoshida (Program Specialist, Health and Global Policy Institute)
  • Advisors: *
    • Yuji Taketani (Chairman, Artemis Women’s Hospital; Supervisor, Project for Whole Implementation to Support and Ensure the Female Life (WISE), Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED))
    • Honami Yoshida (Associate Professor, Department of Health and Welfare, Kanagawa University of Human Services)

HGPI conducted this survey with the financial support of Bayer Yakuhin, Ltd. and docomo Healthcare, Inc. The Sponsor’s opinions were solicited, but we exercised independent judgment in determining whether any such opinions should be reflected in the survey. We also have received financial support from The National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) for the translation to English.

*Titles omitted