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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123


LUZ, Verônica Gronau et al. Migrant labor and wear-out in manual sugarcane harvesting in São Paulo, Brazil. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.10, pp.2831-2840. ISSN 1413-8123.

The scope of this paper is to describe the work of manual sugarcane harvesters, assessing the nutritional behavior and body composition between the beginning and the end of the harvest. A descriptive longitudinal study was made of harvesters in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil, who answered a socio-demographic questionnaire and authorized measurement of Body Mass Index, Body Fat Percentage and Arm Muscle Circumference at three stages. Creatine kinase on the skeletal isoform, C-reactive protein and plasma urea were measured at the end of the harvest. Thirty male migrant harvesters with ages ranging from 18 to 44 from the Northeast (Ceará) were assessed over a nine-month period. The workers suffered significant body fat and weight loss in the first half of the harvest. Eighteen workers had abnormal levels   of creatine kinase and four - out of 24 who had donated blood - had altered urea levels. Sugarcane harvesting work causes weight and body fat loss and gains in the lean body mass index, which suffers wear-out when working on consecutive harvests. It can also cause changes in biochemical markers of chronic systemic inflammation. Further studies will make it possible to comprehend the relationships between stress, wear-out, labor longevity and health in sugarcane harvesting.

Keywords : Occupational health; Nutritional assessment; Anthropometrics; Working conditions.

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