Background: Hispanic immigrant workers dominate California's hired farm workforce. Little is known about their health status; even less is known about those lacking employment authorization.
Methods: The California Agricultural Workers Health Survey (CAWHS) was a statewide cross-sectional household survey conducted in 1999. Six hundred fifty-four workers completed in-person interviews, comprehensive physical examinations, and personal risk behavior interviews.
Results: The CAWHS PE Sample is comprised mostly of young Mexican men who lack health insurance and present elevated prevalence of indicators of chronic disease: overweight, obesity, high blood pressure, and high serum cholesterol. The self-reported, cumulative, farm work career incidence of paid claims for occupational injury under workers compensation was 27% for males and 11% for females.
Conclusions: The survey finds elevated prevalence of indicators of chronic disease but lack of health care access. Participants without employment authorization reported a greater prevalence of high-risk behaviors, such as binge drinking, and were less knowledgeable about workplace protections.
(c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.