Risk factors for falls among Iowa farmers: a case-control study nested in the Agricultural Health Study

Am J Ind Med. 2003 Sep;44(3):265-72. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10267.


Background: Farmers are at increased risk for fall-related injury compared with other occupations. Little is known about risk factors for non-fatal falls on the farm. This case-control study, nested within the Agricultural Health Study, aimed to assess risk factors for work-related falls among Iowa farmers.

Methods: A screener questionnaire sent to 6,999 farmers in 1998 identified 79 farmers who reported a fall-related farm injury that required medical advice or treatment in the previous year. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to assess several possible risk factors for injury among these farmers compared with 473 farmers with no injury in the previous year.

Results: There were significant associations between fall-related farm injury and age between 40 and 64 years (OR = 2.21; 95% CI = 1.20-4.07), doctor-diagnosed arthritis/rheumatism (OR = 2.05; 95% CI = 1.11-3.79), difficulty hearing normal conversation (even with a hearing aid, in the case of those who used one) (OR = 1.82; 95% CI = 1.07-3.08), and taking medications regularly (OR = 1.80; 95% CI = 1.02-3.18).

Conclusions: Aging and health impairments, such as arthritis and hearing difficulties, are risk factors for which accommodations and preventive strategies can be devised to prevent fall-related injuries on the farm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Accidents, Occupational*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agriculture*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iowa
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires