Exploratory study of the occupational health and health-seeking of migrant and seasonal farmworkers on the U.S.-Mexico border

J Immigr Minor Health. 2012 Aug;14(4):648-56. doi: 10.1007/s10903-011-9503-4.


The U.S. migrant and seasonal farmworker (MSFW) workforce is aging. Aging causes functional changes that can affect work performance and increase injury/accident risk. It also has been linked with deferred health-seeking. The exploratory study was conducted to investigate occupational injuries and health-seeking in Hispanic MSFW on the U.S.-Mexico border. Data were collected using an abbreviated Spanish-version of the California Agricultural Worker Health Survey. Nearly 60% of the 141 participants were middle-aged or older. Musculoskeletal injuries and those consistent with agrochemical and environmental exposures were common. Farmworkers aged >40 years were 2.5-5 times more likely than younger MSFW to report persistent single and multiple injuries involving the knees, shoulder, feet, and hands. Except for neck and back injuries, few received any medical treatment. Although many self-treated with traditional home remedies, few used CAM practitioners. The study findings highlight the multiple workplace health and health-seeking challenges faced by aging immigrant MSFW.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / ethnology*
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Injuries / ethnology*
  • Occupational Injuries / etiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Population Dynamics
  • Southwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult