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Four Year Study Improving Farmers Cardiovascular Health Commences

Assisting farmers with improving their Cardiovascular health is at the centre of a new four year study which has commenced this week.

The research will provide opportunities for farmers attending marts in 60 locations throughout Ireland during 2018-2019 to undertake a health screen test and, if they choose, to participate in the study which will seek to support them to achieve their healthier lifestyle goals.

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.

The study will be conducted by Teagasc PhD Walsh fellow Ms Diana Van Doorn at the Centre for Men’s Health at IT Carlow.

It is also supported by Glanbia Ireland, Irish Heart Foundation, The Health Services Executive and the UCD School of Physiotherapy and Performance Science.

Marese Damery of the Irish Heart Foundation said:

“The Irish Heart Foundation welcome the opportunity to collaborate on this project as it builds on the research already commissioned by us which revealed that 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. We are particularly happy to have the opportunity to work in partnership on such a valuable study. This research is important in identifying ways that we can support farmers make positive changes to their lifestyles.”

The author: Nick Fitzgerald