Macro-activity patterns of farmworker and non-farmworker children living in an agricultural community

Megan Shepherd-Banigan, Angela Ulrich, Beti Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Children of farmworkers have significantly higher exposure to pesticides than do other children living in the same agricultural communities, but there is limited information about how and where older farmworker children (>6) spend their time and how their activities might influence the risk of pesticide exposure. Objectives: Using data from the Community Based Participatory Research Study for Healthy Kids, we compared activity patterns recorded over 7 days during two agricultural seasons (pre thinning and thinning) between farmworker and non-farmworker children aged 6-12 years old living in Eastern Washington State. Methods: Parents completed a 7-day activity diary recording the activity patterns of their children. Mean differences in individual-level activity patterns across season were analyzed using paired t-tests and the Signed Rank Test. Differences in mean activity patterns comparing farmworker and non-farmworker children were analyzed using the Wilcoxon Sum Rank Test to assess differences in distributions across independent samples. Results: We observed substantial differences in child activity patterns between the two seasons. The children in this sample spent more time outdoors (p<0.001) and were more likely to engage in behaviors, such as playing in the fields (p=0.01) and accompanying their parents to work in the fields (p=0.001) during the high-spray thinning season. There were some differences in activities and behaviors between farmworker and non-farmworker children during the thinning season. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that multiple factors, including agricultural season and parental occupation, may be associated with differences in activity patterns that could influence risk of pesticide exposure among children living in agricultural communities. As such, these factors may influence variation in exposure risks and should be considered when analyzing pesticide exposure measurements in these groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-181
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Activities
  • Agriculture
  • Behaviors
  • Child
  • Occupational exposure
  • Pesticide exposure


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