Staying healthy : the case of cotton and cane growers in Australia

Willis, Karen, Johns, Susan, Kilpatrick, Sue and Peek, Karla 2011, Staying healthy : the case of cotton and cane growers in AustraliaHealth and well-being : a social and cultural perspective, Nova Science Publishers, Inc, Hauppauge, N.Y., pp.117-125.

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Title Staying healthy : the case of cotton and cane growers in Australia
Author(s) Willis, Karen
Johns, Susan
Kilpatrick, Sue
Peek, Karla
Title of book Health and well-being : a social and cultural perspective
Publication date 2011
Series Public Health in the 21st Century
Chapter number 11
Total chapters 24
Start page 117
End page 125
Total pages 9
Publisher Nova Science Publishers, Inc
Place of Publication Hauppauge, N.Y.
Keyword(s) Stress
Mental health
Physical activity
Social Engagement
Summary Farmers and fishers have always been exposed to the vagaries of climate and global economic forces. However, in recent years there has been an accumulation of factors which are having a particularly severe impact upon rural Australia. The global financial crisis has negatively affected commodity prices and the viability of some rural communities is under threat. There is evidence to suggest that climate change is already impacting adversely on many primary producers and their ability to farm using traditional methods. Furthermore, many parts of rural Australia are still experiencing the effects of long-term drought and associated problems. Together, these circumstances can rightly be conceived of as 'difficult times'. Key areas recently identified in a decline in mental health among farmers include: increasing isolation, ongoing drought, increased government regulations, and a widening of the schism between urban and rural Australians. While there is a body of literature on behaviour around illness in the context of the stress of ' difficult times', there is little on preventative behaviours in these circumstances. This chapter reports preliminary findings from an exploratory research projects that investigates the process by which farmers and fishers achieve and maintain good physical and mental health in the context of 'difficult times'. The research takes a multiple case study approach, with five Australian sites, each with a different industry base, representing communities undergoing 'difficult times'. This chapter focuses on two of the sites and data obtained from interviews with farmers in the cotton and sugar industries. It discusses the behavioural choices that they make to maintain good physical health and mental wellbeing. These include choices about nutrition, physical activity, social connections such as participation in community, social or farm-related groups, opportunities for relaxation and regular medical check-ups.
ISBN 9781612094878
Language eng
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920506 Rural Health
HERDC Research category B1 Book chapter
Copyright notice ©2011, Nova Science Publishers, Inc
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