Ag Women and Their Health Needs

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson October 3, 2018 14:59

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The USDA says that even though a third of all American farmers are women, their safety and health needs are being overlooked.  In an effort to focus on these issues, a free webinar entitled “Optimizing the Health of the Female Agricultural Producer” which was hosted by AgriSafe’s Linda Emanual, RN and Knesha Rose-Davison, MPH during National Farm Safety and Health Week in September.  Here are some points that were touched on:

  • Many women work off the farm to provide a steady income and then come home to the responsibilities of housework and childcare.  For women on the farm, this “second shift” is followed by a “third shift” that involves farm labor.  Women tend to take on too much as they are expected to fill multiple roles and this increases mental and physical stress.
  • Rose-Davison states that generally speaking, women who live in rural health areas have poorer health outcomes and have less access to care than urban women.  There’s a lack of rural health resources for female and reproductive health which leads to fewer preventive screens for breast and cervical cancer.
  • Specific areas of risk for women include heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, broken bones, chronic pain, mental health, risks related to pregnancy when working with livestock, and respiratory illness.
  • There are chemical concerns that can also cause problems for women, and can affect both mother and baby.  The EPA provides a free manual that explains pesticide exposures ( https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/recognition-and-management-pesticide-poisonings ) and encourages all women who work with pesticides to read this along with wearing protective gear and a respirator.  They and others in the household can even expose themselves to pesticides by doing laundry.
  • The CDC states that birth defects are the number one cause of death for babies under the age of 1 year.  In urban areas nearly 109 deaths occur per 1,000 live births, but that number jumps to nearly 147 deaths for babies in rural communities.  This could be due to genetic issues, specialty care, lack of prenatal care, and lack of folic acid among other things.

Emanual says that yoga and Pilates can help farm women both mentally and physically.  These exercise techniques can help protect joints, prevent muscle strain/sprain, increase core strength, and provide flexibility and balance while offering a dose of sanity.  AgriSafe provides a couple of instructional posters on yoga and Pilates that can be done using objects found on the farm (https://www.agrisafe.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=243:women&catid=20:site-content&Itemid=258).

To view a recording of this or any other webinar offered during safety week, visit https://www.agrisafe.org/nfshweek2018.  Stay safe and stay healthy.

-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team

Resource:

https://www.agriculture.com/family/health-safety/health-needs-of-women-in-ag-overlooked?cid=285821&did=285821-20180927&mid=15262734292&utm_campaign=todays-news_newsletter&utm_content=092718&utm_medium=email&utm_source=agriculture.com

 

 

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson October 3, 2018 14:59
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