Health Status of the Rural Elderly According to Farm Work History: The Iowa 65+ Rural Health Study

  • Wallace, Robert B.;
  • Kohout, Frank J.;
  • Lemke, Jon H.;
  • Morris, Martha C.;
  • Yesalis III, Charles E.


In a geographically defined survey of 3,097 rural Iowans who were at least 65 yr of age, we examined the association between prior farm experience (=> 25 yr) and various measures of current health status; we controlled for age, current working status, and, where appropriate, smoking and alcohol consumption. Health status was indexed by self-reported morbid conditions, symptoms, and physical function. After controlling for smoking behavior, it was found that both men and women with previous form exposure currently experience a greater prevalence of all nine respiratory symptoms employed in the study relative to non-farmers. Farm men report a lower prevalence of Parkinson's disease and prostate conditions, but report a greater prevalence of stroke and a lower level of self- perceived health status. Women with a farm work history experience a greater level of physical function and fewer symptoms associated with mental illness. Overall significant benefits as well as risks associated with a history of farm work were identified. However, of those who survived to age 65, extended exposure o farm work did not have a major impact on the overall current health status of men and women.


JOURNAL: Arch Environ Health. 1985; 40(5): 245-253.

Note: Archives of Environmental Health.

NLOM ID#: 86049523 .

Publication #: 86049523

This document was extracted from the CDC-NIOSH Epidemiology of Farm Related Injuries: Bibliography With Abstracts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

We are unable to supply copies of the full report cited in this entry. Readers are advised to use the following sources:

  • Author or publisher: articles are frequently available from the author or publisher.
  • Medical or other research libraries: these facilities often have the material on hand or know where it can be obtained. If available, each journal entry includes the appropriate National Library of Medicine unique identification number to aid in interlibrary loan requests.
  • Government: some U.S. Government-sponsored research reports, including ones out-of print, are available from the National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More