Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but it’s not easy living a healthy lifestyle as a trucker driving the long haul. What makes us really sit up and take notice is the sobering degree to which a driver’s health can be impacted by life on the road.
A study released last year by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) discovered that long haul truckers were two times as likely to be overweight and/or obese compared to the adult working population. These long haul truckers were also more likely to smoke tobacco and suffer from other risk factors for chronic disease. Sobering, indeed.
According to the 1,670 drivers NIOSH interviewed regarding their health and work practices, it was discovered that:
- 69% were obese
- 54% smoked
- And, 88% reported having at least one risk factor like hypertension, smoking, and obesity
The Unfortunate Loss Of Truck DriversSome trucking companies are considering the potential implementation of intervention programs designed to assist drivers who are at risk of failing under the new criteria. These programs would help truckers get treatment for health issues like high blood pressure and high blood glucose levels.
Truck Driver Health And Wellness ProgramsA more structured, education-focused approach to health and wellness ensures truckers remain informed and accountable to their health and job. Some companies have taken major steps in this direction by converting smoking lounges to gyms and opening on-site restaurants that offer healthy meal options cooked fresh daily.
At the end of the day, these health and wellness programs are designed to help high risk truckers get healthier while also helping healthy truckers stay healthy.
And, yes, we understand that the direct impact of health and wellness programs on driver turnover is hard to measure. However, if these programs can help a driver pass his DOT physical as well encourage him to adopt healthier lifestyle habits -- which then keeps him in the workforce -- then, yes, these programs have a definite positive effect on recruiting and retention.