In recent research carried out by Teagasc it was found that Irish farmers have significantly higher mortality rates from cardiovascular disease, cancers and any cause of death in comparison to other occupational groups. Figures show that farmers continue to work the longest hours with some even working the whole year without taking a break. This in the long run effects both their health and their physical ability to work.

The research Teagasc carried out, was based on results given by 314 Irish farmers the results found were:

• 57% of the farmers had visited a doctor in the past 12 months. This is somewhat lower than the national average for Irish males (65%).
• One in five farmers (20%) reported never having consulted a doctor.
• Over one third of farmers (39%) reported having experienced ill health in the past 12 months.
• The main health problems farmers reported were lower back pain, arthritis and anxiety.
• One in five farmers (20%) questioned admitted to being smokers compared to the national average of 24%.
• 88% of farmers reported regular alcohol consumption with 22% reporting weekly drinking, which is considerably lower than the 60% national average for Irish males.
• 22% reported weekly ‘binge’ drinking, which is similar to the national average of 21%.
• Out of all the farmers, those under the age of 45 were most likely to report smoking and weekly alcohol consumption, those over 45 reported arthritis.

Working identity tends to be highly important for farmers and work might be put ahead of any other responsibilities in life, such as health. Sometimes farmer’s biggest fear is leaving the farm in the hands of others, but talking a break, especially after the busy spring season, is extremely important.

FRS work with farmers throughout Ireland helping them to take the time out that they deserve. Experienced operators are sent out to the farm to take over while the farmer is away. This enables farmers to head away leaving their minds at ease.

For more information on what FRS has to offer and how we can help you when you need a break visit or call FRS Roscrea on 0505 21166 or FRS Cahir on 052 7441 598.

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