Teagasc research shows that farmers remain at a higher risk of health problems

FARMERS have been advised not to neglect an annual ‘NCT’ on themselves as yet another research study has highlighted greater health problems with the farming community as compared to other walks of life.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell told the Farming Tribune that while most farmers had to carry out annual NCT checks on their vehicles, they often neglected to do a similar check on their own health.

“Farmers owe it to themselves and their families, to once every year, go to their doctor and get an overall health check carried out, including blood tests.

“This is just basic common-sense. It is very worrying to hear reports from different studies about farmers being in the higher risk category under different health headings,” said Anne Mitchell.

The latest findings on issues relating to farmers’ health is based on Teagasc led research and surveys based on a questionnaire filled by 314 farmers who were either attending Teagasc training courses or Irish Rural Link meetings.

Well over one third of farmers surveyed (39%) reported having experienced ill-health over the previous 12 months – mainly lower back pain, arthritis and anxiety.

The vast majority of farmers (88%) reported regular consumption of alcohol with one in five farmers admitting to weekly binges – this latter figure is similar to the national average.

The findings of the study are contained in an article in the Spring edition of the Teagasc TResearch magazine which recommends ‘targeted health interventions’ among subgroups of Irish farmers with ‘precarious health behaviours’.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.