Farmers live longer, healthier lives, with less risk of hyperlipidemia and hypertension, Shimane University’s study says

SHIMANE, Oct. 5 – Farm work is effective in controlling the occurrence of lipid disorders and hypertension, according to the new study by Masayuki Yamasaki, associate professor of Shimane University, and his research associates. The study suggested that, compared to farmers, those who are not engaged in farm work have a nearly-doubled likelihood of developing lipid disorders, while the blood pressure of farmers is relatively lower. Yamasaki explained that farm work “can help people live longer their healthier lives” by controlling lipid disorders, which can be a cause of myocardial or cerebral infarctions, and high blood pressure, which can be a cause of arterial stiffening.

The study was conducted between 2006 and 2014 with 4,778 male and female residents of 40 years old or older in Unnan, Oki-no-shima, and Ohnan towns in Shimane Prefecture. It confirmed the presence of diseases with a potential of affecting their disability-free life expectancies. The people in the survey were categorized into two age groups: middle-aged (from 40 to 64 years old) and older (over 65 years old), and then in two occupational groups: farmers and non-farmers.

The study on the middle-aged farmers and non-farmers indicated that farm work has been protecting people against the onset of lipid disorders. The risk of lipid disorder occurrence of the male non-farmers was 1.92 times higher than the male farmers while that of the female non-farmers was 2.34 times higher than the female farmers.

The lipid disorder is the state of having higher blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, fats, or both than needed. It’s one of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome, which may result in diabetes and hyperlipemia.

The study on older age groups proved that farm work had been reducing the risk of occurrence of high blood pressure which may result in hardening of the arteries. Compared to the farmers, the risk of developing the hypertension was 1.37 times higher with the male non-farmers and 1.13 times higher with the female non-farmers.

“Farmers are physically active every day, and that’s why they are so healthy,” Yamasaki analyzed. Workers, in general, tend to have a higher risk of illness after retirement due to a lack of physical activities. “To live longer healthily, it’s a good idea to incorporate agricultural work in their life after the retirement,” he said.

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