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South Med J. 1987 Sep;80(9):1137-40.

Agricultural life-style: a mortality study among male farmers in South Carolina, 1983-1984.


After reviewing the death certificates of 2,820 South Carolina agricultural workers (including farmers, farm workers, and others in the agricultural industry) aged 35 to 84 during 1983-1984, we calculated proportional mortality ratios (PMRs). Among both white and nonwhite farmers in South Carolina, the PMR was significantly higher for cerebrovascular disease (whites, PMR = 1.20, P less than .05; nonwhites, PMR = 1.43, P less than .001) and lower for all malignant neoplasms (whites, PMR = 0.86, P less than .05; nonwhites, PMR = 0.78, P less than .001). In addition, external causes of death were elevated, attaining statistical significance for white farmers (PMR = 1.51, P less than .001). Significantly lower PMRs for all malignant neoplasms are attributed to fewer deaths from cancers related to smoking (buccal cavity and pharynx, esophagus, lung, and bladder) and colon and rectal cancers among both white and nonwhite farmers. White farmers did not show significantly elevated PMRs for cancers of the lymphatic and hematopoietic systems found in other studies in the Midwest. These data suggest that agricultural life-style can be improved for the prevention of strokes and for external causes of death.

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