Health Advice



California's 'most disadvantaged' workers have widespread chronic health issues, study finds

Melissa Montalvo and Laura S. Diaz, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Health & Fitness

Despite widespread chronic illness among the people that grow food in California – many struggle to access reliable healthcare.

A new study from UC Merced Community and Labor Center sheds light on the chronic health issues, healthcare access, and workplace conditions that impact the wellbeing of California farmworkers.

Researchers say in a news release that it’s the largest-ever academic study on the “nation’s most disadvantaged workforce.”

“Agriculture is one of California’s most vital and productive industries, yet many of its workers experience profound challenges in maintaining their health and wellbeing,” Edward Flores of UC Merced Community and Labor Center, said in a statement.

One sobering finding of the study is that 49% of California farmworkers reported being without health insurance.

The UC Merced Community and Labor Center surveyed more than 1,240 California farmworkers in six different languages – English, Spanish, and the Indigenous languages Mixteco, Triqui, Zapotec and Ilocano – between August 2021 and January 2022.


A majority of the farmworkers surveyed were located in the Central Valley, a region that grows a quarter of the nation’s food.

Researchers also formed a community advisory board of 26 farmworker-serving organizations, which informed the research. Ten of these organizations and two health clinics conducted data collection, including the United Farm Workers, Californians for Pesticide Reform, Central California Environmental Justice Network (CCEJN), Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño (CBDIO), Lideres Campesinas, and others.

Flores, of UC Merced, said the data from the report “should inform policy development” related to the health and well-being of agricultural workers.

Lack of insurance, chronic conditions and mental health


swipe to next page

©2023 The Sacramento Bee. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus