Mixed methods analysis of migrant farm workers' health outcomes and access to healthy food in Moultrie, Georgia, USA Open Access

Sibley, Charlotte Marilyn (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/cn69m4926?locale=en
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Abstract

Background: While farm work is consistently rated as one of the most dangerous jobs in
the United States, there is little information available on the health risks of this
occupation. Research examining connections between food insecurity, diet diversity,
demographic variables, and adverse health outcomes among migrant farm workers is
especially lacking.

Objective:
This study identifies predictors of anemia, high blood glucose, hypertension,
and overweight/obesity, quantifies the distribution of these health outcomes, and studies
their associations with food insecurity and dietary diversity among a population of
migrant farm workers. The study also explores the workers' perceptions of their health
and access to healthy foods and key informants' insights on these issues.

Methods:
Surveys (n=62) conducted with a subset of the migrant farm worker
population investigated the prevalence of and risk factors for food insecurity and low
dietary diversity, while clinical data from the larger group (n=385) provided information
about health outcomes. Focus groups discussions (FGDs) with women in the farm worker
community explored household prioritization of resources and food preferences, and key
informant interviews provided further information about community resources.

Results:
Of the 385 farm workers, 22.4% were hypertensive, 49.4% were anemic, 33.5%
had high blood glucose and an additional 41.1% had elevated blood glucose, and 57.7%
were overweight or obese . In the surveyed subset, 66.1% experienced food insecurity,
and 61.3% had low/medium dietary diversity. Food insecurity was associated with a
three-fold increase in the odds of having high blood glucose. Themes from the FGDs and
key informant interviews indicated that farm workers viewed financial constraints, lack
of cultural familiarity, and limited access to healthcare as the most important barriers to
healthy living.

Discussion:
The high prevalence of food insecurity and low dietary diversity, as well as
the association of food insecurity with high blood glucose, mirrored the findings of
previous research. The qualitative data from this study revealed that while there are some
resources available to help migrant farm workers lead healthy lives, the workers often did
not know about these services. The results of this study can be used to inform future
health outreach efforts among migrant farm workers.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents
List of tables and figures ...................................................................................................8
Introduction ........................................................................................................................9
Introduction and rationale ....................................................................................................9
The problem .......................................................................................................................10
Knowledge gap ..................................................................................................................11
Purpose of this study ..........................................................................................................12
Research questions .............................................................................................................13
Significance of this study ...................................................................................................13
Definitions of terms ...........................................................................................................14
Literature review .............................................................................................................17
Who are migrant farm workers? ........................................................................................17
Health concerns of migrant farm workers .........................................................................18
Food insecurity...................................................................................................................23
Gaps in research .................................................................................................................28
Methodology .....................................................................................................................29
Introduction ........................................................................................................................29
Study site ............................................................................................................................29
Research design .................................................................................................................30
Population and sample .......................................................................................................31
Sampling and recruitment ..................................................................................................32
Instruments and procedures ...............................................................................................33
Ethics/protection of human subjects ..................................................................................37
Data analysis ......................................................................................................................38
Limitations and delimitations ............................................................................................43
Results ...............................................................................................................................45
Key statistical findings .......................................................................................................45
Key qualitative findings .....................................................................................................48
Discussion, conclusion, and recommendations ..............................................................56
Summary of study ..............................................................................................................56
Discussion of findings........................................................................................................56
Comparisons to other studies .............................................................................................60
Strengths and weaknesses of study ....................................................................................61
Recommendations ..............................................................................................................62
References .........................................................................................................................66
Appendices ........................................................................................................................69
Appendix A: Descriptions of variables and codes .............................................................69
Appendix B: Additional statistics ......................................................................................71
Appendix C: Survey about eating habits and health (English and Spanish versions) .......83
Appendix D: Focus group discussion guide (English and Spanish versions) ....................90

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