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Figure 2 | BMC Research Notes

Figure 2

From: Farming fit? Dispelling the Australian agrarian myth

Figure 2

Farming Fit hypothesis. Preliminary data obtained from the Sustainable Farm Families program indicates that farmers are no longer as active as they used to be. The reasons for this are multi-factorial with the biggest impacts coming from increasing agricultural mechanisation, (decreased farm physical work) poor diet, decreasing local recreation activities, lifestyle health risks (including obesity, pre-diabetes and chronic pain), decreasing social opportunities and climate variability (drought, flood and extreme weather events). The decrease in physical activity has led to increased farmer overweightness and obesity and has negatively impacted mental health. Increased psychological distress and obesity both increase circulating cortisol levels and decrease circulating endorphins. In turn, this biochemical milieu further raises psychological stress and promotes fat deposition. Psychological distress decreases an individual's willingness to engage in physical activity, creating a cycle of defeat with increasing weight gain and poorer mental health. We hypothesise a farmer who is chronically stressed can intervene in this cycle by increasing physical activity which reduces body mass, decreases cortisol levels, increases endorphin release and improves psychological health.

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