Today is the official start date for Ruth’s Masters!

We are delighted that today is the official start date for Ruth’s 12-month research masters which is in partnership with the Irish Research Council, Institute of Technology Sligo and True Fitness. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the impact of our 6-week community-based ‘Fit Farmers’ lifestyle education and physical activity programme on dietary intake and the physical, cardiovascular and metabolic health of farmers living in Ireland. As part of this research we will be implementing a number of 6-week Fit Farmer programmes in communities within the next 12 months.

Why are we doing this research?

A recent study which investigated the physical, cardiovascular and metabolic health status of Irish male farmers showed that 35% of farmers were classified as obese, 46% had high blood pressure, 46% had elevated total cholesterol, 31% had low high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, 11% had high blood sugar levels, 80% exceeded the recommended waist circumference (>93 centimetres) and 83% of farmers had a minimum of four risk factors for cardiovascular disease (van Doorn et al 2017). This places Irish farmers at significant risk for the development of type 2 diabetes, a range of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic lifestyle related non-communicable diseases. The increase in morbidity (diseases) and premature mortality (death) associated with these chronic diseases cause a significant strain on the individual farmer but also on a population level, which ultimately poses a direct and indirect financial burden on the Irish health care system and the economy.

Lifestyle interventions which increase physical activity and improve dietary habits are consistently proven to improve health and lower the risk of developing these chronic diseases, morbidity and mortality rate (Saha et al 2010, Crandall et al 2008). However, the effect of lifestyle intervention on farmer health has yet to be investigated.

What is the ‘Fit Farmer’ programme?

The Fit Farmer programme is a 6-week health promoting lifestyle intervention designed to improve nutrition, strength and wellness of Irish farmers. As part of this programme there will be one group session per week and each session will take 2 hours (60 minutes of health and nutrition education + 60 minutes of physical activity).

Who can take part in this research?

Male and female adult farmers (+18 years) living in Ireland are invited to take part in this research.

When will the Fit Farmer programmes take place and where will they be?

The dates and location of these programmes are yet to be decided. As soon as we have confirmation we will post it to the True Fitness website and social media channels.

If you are interested or know somebody who would be interested in participating in this study please contact Ruth via email: or phone 0833748262 for more information.


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