Identifying and mitigating risks for agricultural injury associated with obesity

Prev Med Rep. 2016 Jun 7;4:220-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.06.003. eCollection 2016 Dec.


In some occupational contexts overweight and obesity have been identified as risk factors for injury. The purpose of this study was to examine this hypothesis within farm work environments and then to identify specific opportunities for environmental modification as a preventive strategy. Data on farm-related injuries, height and weight used to calculate body mass index (BMI), and demographic characteristics were from the Phase 2 baseline survey of the Saskatchewan Farm Injury Cohort; a large cross-sectional mail-based survey conducted in Saskatchewan, Canada from January through May 2013. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine associations between BMI and injury. Injury narratives were explored qualitatively. Findings were inconsistent and differed according to gender. Among women (n = 927), having overweight (adjusted OR: 2.94; 95% CI: 1.29 to 6.70) but not obesity (1.10; 95% CI: 0.35 to 3.43) was associated with an increased odds of incurring a farm-related injury. No strong or statistically significant effects were observed for men (n = 1406) with overweight or obesity. While injury-related challenges associated with obesity have been addressed in other occupational settings via modification of the worksite, such strategies are challenging to implement in farm settings because of the diversity of work tasks and associated hazards. We conclude that the acute effects of overweight in terms of injury do require consideration in agricultural populations, but these should also be viewed with a differentiation based on gender.

Keywords: Agriculture; Obesity; Prevention; Sex; Workplace injury.