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J Korean Med Sci. 2010 Dec;25(Suppl):S112-8. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2010.25.S.S112. Epub 2010 Dec 15.

Disease prevalence and mortality among agricultural workers in Korea.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Korea University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The aim of this paper was to provide an overview of mortality and disease prevalence related to occupational diseases among agricultural workers in Korea. We evaluated the age-standardized mortality rates and the prevalence of chronic diseases and compared them with those of other populations using death registration data from 2004 through 2008 and the 2005 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In addition, we conducted a literature review on published articles examining the health status of farmers in Korea. Agricultural workers have a significantly higher mortality of cancer, tuberculosis, chronic respiratory diseases, liver diseases, suicide, motor and non-motor vehicle accidents. Compared to other populations, farmers have higher prevalence rates of arthritis and intervertebral disc disorders. The literature review revealed a number of work-related diseases among farmers, such as musculoskeletal diseases, pesticide poisoning, infections, and respiratory and neurologic diseases. Korean farmers demonstrate a distinct pattern of mortality and disease prevalence compared to other populations. Although lifestyle factors remain important contributors to those deaths and diseases, our study suggests that occupation is a major determinant as well. Intensive programs such as surveillance systems, therefore, should be developed in order to identify and prevent work-related diseases among agricultural workers in Korea.


Agricultural Workers' Diseases; Mortality; Occupations; Prevalence; Republic of Korea

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