Occupational differences, cardiovascular risk factors and lifestyle habits in South Eastern rural Australia

Nathalie Davis-Lameloise, Benjamin Philpot, Edward Janus, Vincent Versace, Erkki Vartiainen, Tiina Laatikainen, James Dunbar

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    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: In rural and remote Australia, cardiovascular mortality and morbidity rates are higher than metropolitan rates.This study analysed cardiovascular and other chronic disease risk factors and related health behaviours by occupational status, to determine whether agricultural workers have higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk than other rural workers. Methods. Cross-sectional surveys in three rural regions of South Eastern Australia (2004-2006). A stratified random sample of 1001 men and women aged 25-74 from electoral rolls were categorised by occupation into agricultural workers (men = 214, women = 79), technicians (men = 123), managers (men = 148, women = 272) and 'home duties' (women = 165). Data were collected from self-administered questionnaire, physical measurements and laboratory tests. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk were assessed by Framingham 5 years risk calculation. Results: Amongst men, agricultural workers had higher occupational physical activity levels, healthier more traditional diet, lower alcohol consumption, lower fasting plasma glucose, the lowest proportion of daily smokers and lower age-adjusted 5 year CVD and CHD risk scores.Amongst women, managers were younger with higher HDL cholesterol, lower systolic blood pressure, less hypertension, lower waist circumference, less self-reported diabetes and better 5 year CVD and CHD risk scores.Agricultural workers did not have higher cardiovascular disease risk than other occupational groups. Conclusions: Previous studies have suggested that farmers have higher risks of cardiovascular disease but this is because the risk has been compared with non-rural populations. In this study, the comparison has been made with other rural occupations. Cardiovascular risk reduction programs are justified for all. Programs tailored only for agricultural workers are unwarranted.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1090
    Pages (from-to)1090
    Number of pages7
    JournalBMC Public Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2013


    • Cardiovascular risk
    • Lifestyle
    • Occupational groups
    • Risk factors
    • Rural


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