Farmers’ lifestyles in the spotlight

A DETAILED survey of the cardiovascular health of Irish farmers in the over-50 age group is being carried out in a joint initiative by the IFA and Pfizer Healthcare Ireland.

Agriculture and Food Minister John Browne launched the initiative, which is part of the IFA 50th anniversary programme.

The health check, involving 1,000 IFA members over the age of 50, will include cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose tests.

Advice on lifestyle, diet, exercise and quitting smoking will also be available.

IFA president John Dillon said it is a unique opportunity to assess the health status of the Irish farming community and he looked forward to seeing the results later in the year.

Pfizer Healthcare Ireland’s Ryan Quigley said, as identified at last year’s National Ploughing Championships, many farmers were not aware of their blood pressure or cholesterol level.

“Lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet, taking exercise and quitting smoking are very valuable in helping protect against heart disease.

“But, people need to become more proactive in making sure that their cholesterol level and blood pressure are in the healthy range,” he said.

IFA Farm Family chairperson Mary McGreale said lifestyles are becoming increasingly pressurised and unfortunately health is often put at the bottom of the list by farmers.

She said the IFA is delighted to be part of this campaign with Pfizer Healthcare and hoped it will heighten health awareness among farmers.

The results of the survey will be made available before the National Ploughing Championships in Mogeely, Co Cork, at the end of September.

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