IT Carlow - Study starts study o approaches to assisting farmers to improve their health

Irish farmers are a particularly high-risk group for cardiovascular disease - leading cause of death in Ireland

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

Email:

sean.keane@kilkennypeople.ie

Farmers' health goes under the microscope

Front (from left): Diana von Doorn, Prof Gerry Boyle, Audrey O’Shea. Back: Dr Catherine Blake, Dr Aoife Osborne, Paula Rankin, David Meredith, Dr John McNamara, Dr Noel Richardson, J Morrissey

A new four -year study has commenced this week to study approaches to assisting farmers to improve Cardiovascular health.
The Study will be conducted by Teagasc PhD Walsh Fellow Ms Diana Van Doorn at the Centre for Men’s Health at IT Carlow.
The study is also supported by Glanbia Ireland, Irish Heart Foundation,
The Health Services Executive and the UCD School of Physiotherapy and Performance Science.
Irish farmers, (in particular males) are a particularly high-risk group for cardiovascular (CVD) disease, the leading cause of death in Ireland.
While a general decline in mortality rates has occurred in the Irish population in recent decades, the rate of decrease among farmers has been the lowest of any socio-economic group.
Lifestyle behaviours, including occupational factors are strongly associated with cardiovascular disease and are therefore preventable. If untreated, CVD can have serious impacts on farmer’s health which undermines the profitability, productivity, competitiveness and sustainability of farming.
“By working with farmers and agencies with a role in health research and promotion, we can meet the key challenge of devising and implementing strategies to assist farmers to effectively manage occupational health issues including CVD,” said Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director.
“It is for this reason that I am delighted that substantial resources have been allocated to this project by Glanbia Ireland, Irish Heart, The HSE, Carlow Institute of Technology, UCD and Teagasc.
Marese Damery, Health Check Manager, Irish Heart Foundation said 80% of farmers are in the high risk group for heart disease and stroke and recommended that more research be conducted on effective interventions with this group.
“The study adds significant value to the regular health checks that we undertake each year through our Farmers Have Hearts programme, supported by the HSE,” she said.
“Our vision as a dairy sustainability leader is to be a global reference point for best practice,” said Audrey O’Shea, Sustainability Manager with Glanbia Ingredients Ireland.
Wellbeing
“At Glanbia Ireland, we believe that the ability to sustain a dairy enterprise is not only related to animal, environmental and economic care but also recognise that the Health, Safety and physical wellbeing of our farmers is fundamental to continued success.
“Assisting the farming community to improve health and safety is a key objective for Teagasc.
The research will provide opportunities for farmers attending marts in 60 locations throughout Ireland during 2018-2019 to undertake a health screen test.
“If they choose, to participate in the study which will seek to support them to achieve their healthier lifestyle goals,” she stressed.