Monday, November 17, 2014

Survey: Farmers less likely than rural non-farmers to have a regular health care provider

Farmers are increasingly facing the same health risks as the rural non-farm population but lack the same resources for prevention, says a study published on Friday in The Journal of Rural Health.

The study used a 2009 survey of 9,612 adults 20 and older—537 of whom were farmers—in seven rural counties in upstate New York that are served by a large rural hospital network that do not serve any urban areas with more than 50,000 people.

Farmers were less likely to have a regular doctor or health care provider, significantly less likely to visit a dentist for routine care, less likely to have health insurance through an employer and more likely to have individually purchased insurance. Farmers smoked significantly less and had significantly more days of hard physical labor, but there were no differences in being overweight or obese or participating in leisure exercise.

"It seems that whatever advantages may be conferred to the farm population in rural New York by an agricultural lifestyle are diminishing to the point where the population's health status is nearly indistinguishable from that of the nonfarm population," the study said. "On the other hand, screening and other forms of secondary prevention lag significantly within the farm population, most notably with having a regular health care provider. Overall, these data suggest that New York farmers are not only less engaged with their own health care than nonfarmers, but they are also less engaged than farmers in other regions of the United States." (Read more)

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