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Revista Facultad Nacional de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0120-386X


OSPINA, Juan M; MANRIQUE, Fred G  and  ARIZA, Nelly E. Health, environment and work in vulnerable populations: potato farmers in center county of Boyacá. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública [online]. 2008, vol.26, n.2, pp.142-152. ISSN 0120-386X.

OBJECTIVE: to describe the environmental, social, health, and labor conditions in a sample of potato farmers in a central county of Boyacá, Colombia. MATERIALS AND METHODS: cross sectional and descriptive study. A sample of 1.410 potato farmers from seven municipalities who were invited to answer a previously designed survey. Housing conditions, labor and socioeconomic environment, perceived illness and health attention and self-care practices were evaluated. RESULTS: the mean age was 44.5 years; 7.8% of illiterateness; 51,3% has not finished primary education; only 7.1% finished high school; the self-declared monthly average income was approximately US$115.34; only 1.8% perceives economic benefits; 73.4% resides in own housing; 82% is exposed to pesticides and herbicides; 31.5% are obese; 76.9% consumes alcoholic drinks; (81.9% male and 66,7% female); the mean frequency of consumption is 3.75 per week (SD = 2.35); the favorite drinks are beer and guarapo. The coverage of health promotion and prevention programs are less than 30%. CONCLUSIONS: the main risk factors identified were the low educational level, high percentage of exposure to pesticides and herbicides, overweight due to unbalanced diet, reduced incomes, high levels of alcohol consumption and limited conditions in geographical and cultural accessibility to health attention and promotion services.

Keywords : poverty; vulnerable populations; occupational health; nutrition processes; pesticide utilization environment conditions.

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