Chronic Disease Risk in Central New York Dairy Farmers: Results From a Large Health Survey 1989-1999

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BackgroundThe agricultural workplace presents a variety of health and safety hazards; it is unknown whether farm work may be a risk factor for certain chronic diseases.MethodsThe health survey data from a large rural population in central New York were used from two studies (1989, 1999) to assess both 1999 prevalence and 10-year incidence of self-reported diabetes, heart disease, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension among farm (predominantly dairy) and non-farm residents. The 1999 asthma prevalence was also assessed.ResultsMultiple logistic regression models for 1999 prevalence found statistically significant protective effects of farming for hypertension (OR = 0.83, P = 0.0105) and hypercholesterolemia (OR = 0.853, P = 0.0522). Non-significant results were seen for heart disease (OR = 0.67, P = 0.128) and diabetes (OR = 0.856, P = 0.1358). The model for 1999 asthma prevalence showed a significantly elevated risk for farming (OR = 1.542, P = 0.0004). Logistic models created for the 10-year incidence of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and heart disease did not show a significant effect for farming.ConclusionsThe protective effect of farming observed for the 1999 prevalence of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia was not seen for the 10-year incidence of these diseases. Am. J. Ind. Med. 47:20–26, 2005. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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