Chronic disease and health risk behaviors among rural agricultural workforce in Queensland

Pinidiyapathirage, Janani and O’Shannessy, Megan and Harte, Jane and Brumby, Susan and Kitchener, Scott (2018) Chronic disease and health risk behaviors among rural agricultural workforce in Queensland. Journal of Agromedicine, 23 (1). pp. 32-39. ISSN 1059-924X


Introduction: Little is known of the lifestyle behaviors and prevalence of chronic disease in the Australian agricultural workforce. This study aimed to assess behavioral risk factors and the prevalence of chronic disease among attendees of agricultural events in rural Queensland.

Methods: Data on lifestyle risk factors and prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases were collected from participants in four separate cross-sectional studies in rural southern Queensland. Anthropometric measures, blood pressure, serum cholesterol, and glucose levels of consenting participants were assessed by trained medical students under the supervision of rural clinicians. Data were analyzed using SPSS 22 statistical software package and t-tests and chisquare tests were used to compare differences between groups.

Results: A total of 702 attendees participated; the majority were agricultural workers (n = 393). Greater psychological distress was reported among participants from these rural communities (42%) than in the Australian population (31%); however, levels of psychological distress was similar between agricultural workers and others in the sample. Fewer people in these agricultural communities reported smoking (10%), and they reported being more active (86%) than the average Australian, but a greater proportion reported high-risk alcohol consumption (53%) and were found to be hypertensive (31%). These findings were accentuated among agricultural workers.

Conclusion: This method of investigation both raises awareness in the community and identifies health risks for further management in a group that has otherwise been poorly defined. Resident agricultural workers have different health risks and behaviors, though psychological distress appears to be borne across these communities.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2018 02:37
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2019 22:23
Uncontrolled Keywords: agricultural workers; behavioral risk factors; chronic disease; rural Queensland
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/1059924X.2017.1387634

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