Background: The agricultural workplace presents a variety of health and safety hazards; it is unknown whether farm work may be a risk factor for certain chronic diseases.
Methods: The health survey data from a large rural population in central New York were used from two studies (1989, 1999) to assess both 1999 prevalence and 10-year incidence of self-reported diabetes, heart disease, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension among farm (predominantly dairy) and non-farm residents. The 1999 asthma prevalence was also assessed.
Results: Multiple logistic regression models for 1999 prevalence found statistically significant protective effects of farming for hypertension (OR=0.83, P=0.0105) and hypercholesterolemia (OR=0.853, P=0.0522). Non-significant results were seen for heart disease (OR=0.67, P=0.128) and diabetes (OR=0.856, P=0.1358). The model for 1999 asthma prevalence showed a significantly elevated risk for farming (OR=1.542, P=0.0004). Logistic models created for the 10-year incidence of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and heart disease did not show a significant effect for farming.
Conclusions: The protective effect of farming observed for the 1999 prevalence of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia was not seen for the 10-year incidence of these diseases.
Copyright (c) 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.