Correlations between The Physical Function and Quality of Life of Female Farmers in South Korea
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Feminization and aging are becoming serious problems in South Korea's rural areas. Because female farmers perform various roles including sales and management as well as production, they are under the threat of poor mental health as well as musculoskeletal diseases.
This study analyzed the data of 101 female farmers with regard to their physical competence and quality of life, who participated in a health promotion program conducted in Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea in 2015 and 2016. The subjects’ physical function was measured using the grip strength, arm curl, functional reach, back scratch, sit and reach, and foot stepping tests. Their quality of life was measured using the Short Form-8 (SF-8). In addition, correlations between their physical competence and quality of life were analyzed. Descriptive statistics were used for data analysis and Pearson's correlation analysis was employed to identify the correlation.
The subjects were, on average, 65.53 years old and had engaged in farming for over 33 years. Their incidence of musculoskeletal diseases based on standard 1 of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) was 91%, and those who fell under Standard 3, which indicates “severe pain” accounted for a notable 36.6%. Therefore, actively improvements were urgently required. Nevertheless, the subjects showed an overall higher level of physical function than general Korean elderly people. Out of the eight subdomains of SF-8, the subjects marked the highest quality of life score in role limitations due to emotional problems, and relatively lower quality of life scores in general health perception, bodily pain, and vitality. In conclusion, the female farmers’ quality of life examined in this study showed high correlations with their physical competence (p<0.05).
Health promotional programs designed to improve physical function are necessary to improve the quality of life of female farmers. To this end, communities should essentially support and pay attention to these programs.
Community, female farmer, physical function, QOL, SF-8.