Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation





First Advisor

Dr. Deborah Reed


Previous research described the value farmers place on their ability to work. The impact of obesity on workers is an increasing concern in occupational health research; yet, knowledge regarding the impact of obesity on the performance of farm work is limited. Identifying the impact of obesity on farmer’s work ability can guide healthcare workers in promoting and motivating farmers to implement lifestyle changes to improve health and sustain longevity in their ability to work.

The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the impact of obesity on the work ability of U.S. farmers. Specific aims were to 1) examine the current state of the science regarding obesity in farmers; 2) to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Work Ability Index; 3) identify the relationship between obesity and work ability; and 4) compare central versus general obesity as predictors of decreased work ability in U.S. farmers.

Key findings of this research support obesity as an increasing concern among U.S. farmers which can result in a decline in work ability. Psychometric evaluation of the Work Ability Index also supports the use of this tool for research and clinical assessment in this population. Implications for clinical practice and nursing research are also discussed.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)