|dc.description.abstract||Few rural health studies have focussed on the health status of farm family members, in particular women and children, or those rural dwellers who do not have an agricultural
occupation. Furthermore, little is known about the environmental determinants of health of
rural families. The purpose of this study was to describe and explore the general health
status and certain rural environmental factors in a rural agriculturally-based population in
Saskatchewan, Canada as part of a larger study, the Prairie Ecosystem Study (PECOS) funded by the Eco-Research Program of the Tri-Council Secretariat of Canada.
This exploratory, descriptive analysis used already existing questionnaire data collected in 1995 in a population-based cross-sectional survey of households in a geographical section of the larger PECOS study area. The Community Canvass was Phase I in the PECOS study of Environmental Pesticide Exposure and Human Health. The target population included all men, women and children living within two towns, one village and the three surrounding rural municipalities and excluded residents of two long-term care facilities and household boarders. Of the 1185 eligtble households, 549 (46.3%) returned
a completed questionnaire, which included 1438 individuals. The focus of this thesis research was on the analysis of the questionnaire survey data. Household level factors (i.e., water supply and treatment, occupational and home or garden use of agrochemicals, farming practices) and individual level factors (i.e., demographic characteristics, occupations, farm residence history, general health status, smoking history) were described. Frequency distributions of reported general health status, respiratory symptoms, smoking status, sex and age were explored between town-dwelling and farm-dwelling groups, and between household farming and non-farming groups, and tests of association were examined.
Almost one-third of town households (31.7%) operated a farm, whereas some farmdwelling
households (3.5%) did not operate a farm. Compared to town households, more farm households used a private well or private dugout as their main source of drinking or washing water. More households treated their washing water than their drinking water, and most of these households used a water softener. Similar proportions of farming and nonfarming households indicated the home or garden use of herbicides, insecticides, and
fungicides. Compared to farming households, a higher proportion of non-farming households used fertilizers for their home or garden. Compared to individuals in farming households, those in non-farming households reported significantly higher frequencies of bronchitis across all age groups; this difference was statistically significant (Wald statistic=22.0, df=1, p||en_US