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OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that farmers are at high risk of hip osteoarthritis and to investigate possible causes for such a hazard. DESIGN: Cross sectional survey. SETTING: Five rural general practices. SUBJECTS: 167 male farmers aged 60-76 and 83 controls from mainly sedentary jobs. All those without previous hip replacement underwent radiography of the hip. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Hip replacement for osteoarthritis or radiological evidence of hip osteoarthritis. RESULTS: Prevalence of hip osteoarthritis was higher in farmers than controls and especially in those who had farmed for over 10 years (odds ratio 9.3, 95% confidence interval 1.9 to 44.5). The excess could not be attributed to any one type of farming, and heavy lifting seems the likely explanation. CONCLUSIONS: Manual handling in agriculture should be limited where possible. Consideration should be given to making hip osteoarthritis a prescribed industrial disease in farmers. There may be wider implications for the prevention of hip osteoarthritis in the general population.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1269 - 1272


Age Factors, Aged, Agricultural Workers' Diseases, Cross-Sectional Studies, England, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Osteoarthritis, Hip, Prevalence, Risk Factors