13 Aug 2022

Teagasc highlights male farmer health burdens ahead of Men's Health Week

Teagasc highlights health burdens faced by male farmers in advance of Men's Health Week

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Teagasc, through its research, advisory, education, training, and media programmes, supports Men’s Health Week 2021, running from Monday, June 14 - Sunday, June 20 and are keen to highlight some notable findings.

While males constitute almost 50% of the population in Ireland, they experience a disproportionate burden of premature mortality, have poorer lifestyles that are responsible for a high proportion of chronic disease, and present late to health services leading to many problems having poorer outcomes.

Among farmers in Ireland, research by Dr Breda Smyth MD has shown that farmers experience 5 times higher cardiovascular, 3 times higher cancer and 7 times higher mortality in the  working age range than ‘white collar’ workers.

Teagasc is currently sponsoring two PhD Walsh Scholarships on farmer health. 

Diana van Doorn is researching approaches to assist farmers to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in a study called ‘Farmers Have Hearts’.

Conor Hammersley is researching the design of a famer’s health training programme called ‘On Feirm Ground’.

Both scholars are attached to the National Centre for Men’s Health, Institute of Technology, Carlow. Findings of both studies are available on the Teagasc Website and further research findings will be published later in 2021.

According to Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist, Dr John McNamara research by Teagasc has  shown that  disability arising  from  ill health or injury  massively  interferes  with  farmer lifestyle and can  jeopardise the livelihood of farm families due  to reduced capacity to farm efficiently which consequently  reduces  income. 

He also stated that recent research indicates that farmers give health issues less attention than aspects of safety implementation.

Dr McNamara stated that reluctance to get a regular health check could lead to farmers suffering outcomes that are more serious in the longer term.

Getting a regular health check by a medical doctor is a vital cornerstone to maintaining health as it allows issues to be monitored and picked up before progressing to serious issues.

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