Recruitment, Methods, and Descriptive Results of a Physiologic Assessment of Latino Farmworkers: The California Heat Illness Prevention Study

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Abstract

Objective:

The California heat illness prevention study (CHIPS) devised methodology and collected physiological data to assess heat related illness (HRI) risk in Latino farmworkers.

Methods:

Bilingual researchers monitored HRI across a workshift, recording core temperature, work rate (metabolic equivalents [METs]), and heart rate at minute intervals. Hydration status was assessed by changes in weight and blood osmolality. Personal data loggers and a weather station measured exposure to heat. Interviewer administered questionnaires were used to collect demographic and occupational information.

Results:

California farmworkers (n = 588) were assessed. Acceptable quality data was obtained from 80% of participants (core temperature) to 100% of participants (weight change). Workers (8.3%) experienced a core body temperature more than or equal to 38.5 °C and 11.8% experienced dehydration (lost more than 1.5% of body weight).

Conclusions:

Methodology is presented for the first comprehensive physiological assessment of HRI risk in California farmworkers.

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