Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Epidemiol. 2007 Feb;17(2):132-41. Epub 2006 Oct 5.

Severe back pain among farmworker high school students from Starr County, Texas: baseline results.

Author information

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Texas A & M University System Health Science Center, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX 77843, USA.



This cohort study is among the first to estimate the prevalence of and examine potential risk factors for severe back pain (resulting in medical care, 4+ hours of time lost, or pain lasting 1+ weeks) among adolescent farmworkers. These youth often perform tasks requiring bent/stooped postures and heavy lifting.


Of 2536 students who participated (response rate across the three public high schools, 61.2% to 83.9%), 410 students were farmworkers (largely Hispanic and migrant). Students completed a self-administered Web-based survey including farm work/nonfarm work and back-pain items relating to a 9-month period.


The prevalence of severe back pain was 15.7% among farmworkers and 12.4% among nonworkers. The prevalence increased to 19.1% among farm workers (n = 131) who also did nonfarm work. A multiple logistic regression for farmworkers showed that significantly increased adjusted odds ratios for severe back pain were female sex (4.59); prior accident/back injury (9.04); feeling tense, stressed, or anxious sometimes/often (4.11); lifting/carrying heavy objects not at work (2.98); current tobacco use (2.79); 6+ years involved in migrant farm work (5.02); working with/around knives (3.87); and working on corn crops (3.40).


Areas for further research include ergonomic exposure assessments and examining the effects of doing farm work and nonfarm work simultaneously.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center