Seasonal Work and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Farmers

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Background:Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and hospitalization in the rural United States. Midwestern farmers are integral to rural communities, but little is known about the effect of occupational variability of seasonal work and technology use on their cardiovascular disease risk.Aims:This study describes the relationships of health behaviors and cardiovascular disease risk in 40 Midwestern farmers during peak and off-peak farming seasons.Methods:Objectively measured physical activity and self-report of demographics, diet, and health-related quality of life were collected during each farming season.Results and Conclusions:Farmers in this study were physically active, ate consistent diets, and reported high health status ratings throughout the year. Cardiovascular disease risk was positively correlated with age and body mass index (P < .01), and half of young and middle-age farmers reported anxiety and depression problems. Cardiovascular disease risk reduction interventions for farmers should address both physical and emotional aspects of farming.

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