Health risk factors among Iowa farmers

Hyesook Park, Nancy L. Sprince, Christine Jensen, Paul S. Whitten, Craig Zwerling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study compares the prevalence of the health risk factors for chronic disease and injury among farmers with their prevalence among other workers, using data from the Iowa Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. From January 1999 to December 1999, there were 3,620 adults who participated in the survey. This report focuses on the 2,140 subjects who reported they were working. We calculated the percentage with each health risk factor, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) and the associated 95% confidence interval (CI), comparing the prevalence of health risks among farmers and other workers. Most health conditions and risk factors were similar among farmers and other workers. However, we found that farmers had some protective behaviors. They had better oral health (OR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.20-0.57) and were less likely to smoke (OR = 0.14, 95% CI 0.06-0.29) than other workers. In contrast, we found that farmers reported some high-risk behaviors compared to other workers. They were less likely to have smoke detectors at home (OR = 0.39, 95% CI 0.18-0.82), or to have had stool blood screening for colorectal cancer (OR = 0.41, 95% CI 0.17-1.00). These results suggest areas for future research to define targeted preventive interventions in farm communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-293
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


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