A Pilot Study of Gait Function in Farmworkers in Eastern North Carolina

J Agromedicine. 2015;20(4):427-33. doi: 10.1080/1059924X.2015.1074971.


Farmworkers endure many job-related hazards, including fall-related work injuries. Gait analysis may be useful in identifying potential fallers. The goal of this pilot study was to explore differences in gait between farmworkers and non-farmworkers. The sample included 16 farmworkers and 24 non-farmworkers. Gait variables were collected using the portable GAITRite system, a 16-foot computerized walkway. Generalized linear regression models were used to examine group differences. All models were adjusted for two established confounders, age and body mass index. There were no significant differences in stride length, step length, double support time, and base of support; but farmworkers had greater irregularity of stride length (P = .01) and step length (P = .08). Farmworkers performed significantly worse on gait velocity (P = .003) and cadence (P < .001) relative to non-farmworkers. We found differences in gait function between farmworkers and non-farmworkers. These findings suggest that measuring gait with a portable walkway system is feasible and informative in farmworkers and may possibly be of use in assessing fall risk.

Keywords: Farmworkers; fall risk; gait; occupational health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational*
  • Adult
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Gait*
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Pilot Projects