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HomeFarming NewsFarmers advised to kick-start a personal health initiative
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farmers advised to kick-start a personal health initiative

According to Teagasc health and safety specialist, Dr John McNamara, Men’s Health Week is a “great time” to kick–start a personal health initiative.

The state agency has confirmed its support for the week-long initiative, which this year, began on Monday, June 14th and runs until Sunday, June 20th – Father’s Day.

Men’s Health Week

“Pick one or a couple of health initiatives that need to be worked on. There is a wide range of information available from the Health Services Executive, while a Farmer Health Booklet ‘Fit for Farming’ is available on the web.”

“As the economy opens up from COVID-19 pandemic, more opportunities for both physical exercise and social engagement will be available over the summer months.’

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

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

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Among farmers in Ireland, research by Dr Breda Smyth MD has shown that farmers experience:

  • 5 times higher cardiovascular;
  • 3 times higher cancer;
  • 7 times higher mortality in the working-age range than ‘white collar’ workers.

According to  Dr John McNamara, research by Teagasc has shown that disability arising from ill-health or injury massively interferes with farmer lifestyle and can jeopardise farm families’ livelihood due to reduced capacity to farm efficiently, consequently reducing income.

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

Scholarships on-farm health

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

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

On the other hand, Conor Hammersley is researching the design of a farmer’s health training programme called ‘On Feirm Ground’.

Both scholars are attached to the National Centre for Men’s Health, Institute of Technology, Carlow. You can view the findings of both studies on Teagasc’s website, with more to follow in due course.

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