Session 6A – The Need for a Public Health Program in Fishing

Tuesday, June 12, 10:45am–12:15pm, Arts and Administration Building, Room A1043

Olaf Jensen, Center for Maritime Health and Society, University of Southern Denmark & International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) -Research; Ilona Denisenko, IMHA; Luisa Canals, University of Cadiz, Spain and IMHA-Research; Debbie Andrioti, IMHA-Research and Center for Maritime Health and Society, University of Southern Denmark

 

The conditions of work in the fisheries sector are arduous with high rates of occupational non-fatal and fatal accidents. Logically, the prevention activities up till now mainly focused on accident prevention with little attention to the emerging chronic diseases, especially diabetes and cardiovascular diseases related to the specific risk factors.

Several studies have shown that fishermen have a higher morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer than other occupations. The results are consistent with the causal explanations in studies about obesity and related health conditions also called the metabolic syndrome. The main risk factors include alcohol, fatty food consumption, smoking and lack of physical exercise. And the negative health effects are causally related the mentioned risk which in turn relate to the specific working conditions and culture in smallscale fishing. This needs to be taken into consideration in the prevention programs.

According to the Luxembourg Declaration of June 2005, health promotion at the workplace is “the combined effect of employers, employees and society’s efforts”. From the international side, the WHO announced in February 2007 that health promotion is an integral part of the work environment work. The International Labor Organization (ILO) included health promotion as part of the work environment some 10 years ago. It is obvious to apply the land-based initiatives, for example, such as the Danish KRAM (Food, Smoking, Alcohol and Physical movement) model to the fishing industry, based on the special conditions of the fishing industry.

Aims: The overall goal of incorporating good habits in everyday life with regard to diet, smoking and physical activity applies to all areas of fishing like in the other areas of society. The general multifactorial causal model used as the theoretical model for health promotion needs to be adapted to the special working conditions in fishing to be effective.

Conclusion: International collaboration in research and development of health promotion programs in fishing seems to be highly needed. Especially as fishery is a relatively small commercial area in the countries, it’s important to have international collaboration.

A good start could be to bring together the initiatives that are currently taking place in some countries, for mutual inspiration between many other countries to establish a program.

 

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