Background: India is currently facing a rising epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Identification of modifiable risk factors is of paramount importance to curb this menace. Fishermen are one of the most vulnerable occupational groups with unique characteristics that make them prone to acquire NCDs, as a significant share of their life is spent at sea. Hence, this study was planned to ascertain the burden of NCDs, determine various risk factors of NCDs, and measure the association between risk factors and NCDs among fishermen of Coastal Karnataka in South India. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 681 fishermen aged 18 years and above as per the semi-structured interview schedule for two years (2017–2019). A convenience sampling strategy was adopted. The data was entered and analyzed using SPSS v.15.0. The results were described in terms of proportions and their 95% confidence intervals. Continuous data were summarized using the mean and standard deviation or median and interquartile range depending on the skewness of data. Chi-square test was used to study the association between NCDs and modifiable risk factors. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify risk factors of NCDs. Results: The mean (SD) age of the population was 42.5 (SD 12.5) years. The mean years involved in fishing was 19.8 years (SD 10.9). More than half (59.5%) of the study participants had severe stress and most (80.3%) were ever substance users. Advancing age, not being able to contact family while at sea, poor dietary practice, ever substance use, increasing waist circumference were significant correlates of NCDs. Conclusions: The commonly prevalent risk factors of NCDs among fishermen included poor dietary practice, higher stress levels, substance use, increasing waist circumference, and inability to contact with family while at sea. Hypertension and Diabetes were the two common NCDs in the study population. There is a need for immediate attention in managing NCDs’ risk factors by promoting a healthy lifestyle by primary health care providers through a sustainable community awareness program targeting fishermen at a convenient time and location, either at the sea-port or meeting places. Harmful effects of substance use, healthy dietary practices, and the importance of physical activity outside their job need emphasis. In addition, screening programs should be organized with the help of boat owners and fishing associations at-least once a year to pick up NCDs at an early stage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health