The farm as a setting for health promotion: results of a needs assessment in South Central Alberta

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Farming is acknowledged to be a dangerous occupation that poses risks for farmers, farm employees and family members. This paper explores the farm as a setting where health promotion and prevention programs can be implemented. We present data from an occupational health and safety needs assessment of 347 farms in the South Central region of the province of Alberta, Canada. The data are used to describe farmers’ familiarity with farm living, thoughts on farm safety, the numbers of people working and types of work performed, other work, income, and the availability of resources. Results are discussed in terms of implications for practitioners under three proposed justifications for a settings model. Data revealed that there is so much heterogeneity among these farms that an ecological settings approach to program development that accounts for both the composition and context of rural settings is more appropriate than the settings model currently in use.

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