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Crop Biotech Update

Farmers Highly Vulnerable to COVID-19, Says Study

September 30, 2020

A study conducted by a research and knowledge transfer team from Teagasc—the Agriculture and Food Development Authority of Ireland—and the National Centre for Men's Health, Institute of Technology, Carlow indicates that the farming community is highly vulnerable to COVID-19 due mainly to their age and poor health status.

Dr. David Meredith, lead author from the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development Programme said that "many farmers have limited personal contacts outside the farm due to the nature of their work, they still face infection risks associated with vital activities such as trading via the sale of produce, or obtaining farm supplies." Meredith added that they should continue to take the necessary COVID-19 precautions.

Doctoral scholar in farmers' health Diana van Doorn at Teagasc/IT Carlow stated Irish farmers' health research found that 31% of farmers used medication to control risk factors for heart cardiovascular disease which they used as prescribed in 95% of cases, which is a positive finding. However, since the COVID-19 emergency, there is a marked reduction generally in persons attending medical services, when these services remain fully open, which could lead to adverse health consequences in the future. Dr. Noel Richardson, Director of the National Centre for Men's Health, IT Carlow said, "Particular emphasis should be given to maintaining a proper diet and focusing on taking regular exercise to maintain health. The Irish farmers' health research shows that 86% of farmers are overweight or obese, which is both a health and COVID-19 risk factor." 

For more details, read the article in Teagasc News.

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