Some evidence suggests that agriculture is one of the healthiest professions. An Australian study showed that farmers had a quarter of the time a chronic disease and a 40% lower likelihood of going to a doctor than off-farm workers.
Researchers from the US compared the mortality rate between farmers and the general population and found that farmers were less likely to die from cancer, heart disease or diabetes. Studies in Sweden and France have also shown that farmers are healthier than non-farmers, and neither agriculture nor horticulture can guarantee a longer lifespan. However, some lifestyle traits associated with both – like going outdoors, participating in light physical activity and eating a healthy plant-rich diet – are possible. In the end, it all depends on balance.
“I liken longevity to a chair,” says Willcox. Healthy eating, happy physical activity, and social connection are four legs. Without one of them, you lose balance and that can shorten your lifespan. Longevity is not only determined by one factor, it is not only necessary to do one thing very hard to make up for the remaining factors.