- Workplace Health & Safety (formerly AAOHN Journal)
- August 2012 - Volume 60 · Issue 8: 345-351
Thirty percent of America’s 2.2 million farms are operated by individuals older than 65 years. This study examined how older farmers define health and determined whether demographic characteristics, farm work, and physical and mental health status predict health definition. Data were collected via telephone and mailed surveys during the baseline wave of data collection in a longitudinal study of family farmers residing in two southern states (n = 1,288). Nearly 42% defined health as the “ability to work” compared to a physical health-related definition. Predictors of defining health as the ability to work included being White, performing more farm tasks in the past week, taking prescription medications daily, and having minimal health-related limitations to farm work. Health behaviors are centered on the individual’s perception of health. Understanding the defining attributes of health can support better approaches to health care and health promotion, particularly among rural subcultures such as farmers, whose identity is rooted in their work.
Dr. Reed is Distinguished Service Professor, Dr. Rayens is Professor, Ms. Conley was a research assistant, Ms. Westneat is a statistician, and Ms. Adkins is a statistician, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.
This study was funded by CDC/NIOSH R01 OH04147. The contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not reflect endorsement by CDC/NIOSH.
The authors thank the farmers who contributed to the study, Erin Lee for editing, and Jihan Mahmoud, Debbie Claunch, and Gail O’Malley for their valuable assistance with the literature review.
Address correspondence to Deborah B. Reed, MSPH, PhD, RN, Distinguished Service Professor, University of Kentucky, 760 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40536-0232. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Received: January 04, 2012
Accepted: April 30, 2012
Posted Online: July 23, 2012