Journal of Epidemiology
Online ISSN : 1349-9092
Print ISSN : 0917-5040
Study Profile
Farmers’ Cohort for Agricultural Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (FARM) Study: Study Design, Methods, and Baseline Characteristics of Enrolled Subjects
Hannae JoSora BaekHee-won ParkSang-Ah LeeJiyoung MoonJae E. YangKi Sung KimJee Yong KimEun Kyoung Kang
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2016 Volume 26 Issue 1 Pages 50-56


Background: The ongoing Farmers’ Cohort for Agricultural Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (FARM) study was developed to evaluate health status and related factors in farmers.
Methods: Farmers in Kangwon Province, South Korea, were recruited. Baseline characteristics were determined using questionnaires about sociodemographic and health characteristics and agricultural work-related factors. In addition, laboratory examinations (lumbar spinal radiography and serologic testing) were conducted.
Results: The FARM study covers eight rural areas and recruited 1013 subjects (534 women; mean [standard deviation {SD}] age, 57.2 [7.5] years). Musculoskeletal pain in multiple areas was reported by 925 subjects (91.3%), and low back pain (63.8%) was the most frequent site of pain. Farmer’s Stress Inventory (mean [SD], 77.7 [10.2]; range, 28–112] and subjective stress index (mean [SD], 5.3 [2.4]; range, 0–10) were above median scale values, reflecting a stressful condition, while the EuroQol-5D-3L index and the EuroQol-Visual Analog Scale scores were high (mean [SD], 0.9 [0.1]; range −0.171–1 and mean [SD], 67.7 [18.7]; range 0–100, respectively), reflecting good life quality. In total, 53% of participants had worked in farming for more than 30 years, and workers involved in dry-field farming comprised the largest subgroup (41.5%). Most participants (94.3%) had no more than a high school education, and families with annual income below 20 million won constituted the largest subgroup (36.3%).
Conclusions: The FARM study may provide data on the current health status and related sociodemographic and agricultural work-related risk factors in Korean farmers, with the goal of providing a scientific basis for developing coping interventions and preventive strategies.

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© 2015 Hannae Jo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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