Many truck drivers end up caring a lot about the integrity of the loads they carry or the truck itself, but they forget the most important thing: their health. More than 50% of truck drivers are obese, compared to 26.7% of all U.S. adults. Similarly, diabetes is 50% more common in truckers than in the general population, and 54% of truckers smoke, compared to just 21% overall. These health issues can put drivers at greater risk of disease, increase their medical bills, hinder their quality of life and even endanger their lives.
Many of these health trends result from the industry’s long hours, little flexibility and limited options. Consequently, the trucking industry must change to promote healthier lifestyles. Here we list some examples of what can be done.
Provide Health Information Resources
Trucking companies and truck stops should offer resources to teach truckers how to improve their eating, exercise and other health habits. Information alone won’t solve the sector’s health issues, but it provides a starting point. Without it, becoming healthier is far more challenging.
Make Schedules More Flexible
One of the reasons so many truckers face health issues is because of their schedules. Since truckers work long hours, they may not have the time to exercise regularly. More flexible schedules would help give drivers the time they need to become more physically active.
Reward Healthy Behavior
Trucking companies can encourage healthier lifestyle choices by rewarding them. A sense of competition, or even just the thought of a prize, can convince drivers who may not otherwise be interested in health programs. Companies can create a tier system where drivers who meet different goals receive increasing awards.
Drivers can also do their part by including some of these items in their daily routine:
- Stay Hydrated
- Eat Fruits & Vegetables
- Avoid Stimulants
- Eat light
- Eat less junk food
- Sleep and rest
- Get exercise
Healthier truckers will spend less on medical bills, have a higher quality of life and live longer. While health may be a matter of personal choices, trucking companies can help improve the safety of their employees by promoting better options.