Long-Haul Truck Drivers Prone to High BMI, Survey Says

truck driver and his truck

Any kind of job can have a cumulative effect on the body. Long-haul truck driving is not an exception. A 2015 national health survey revealed that truck drivers were more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI) than the general working population. A high BMI can mean an increased risk of obesity. This then boosts the chances of developing non-communicable diseases. These can include heart disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.

High BMI

Why are long-haul truck drivers prone to high BMI? A 2010 national survey may provide the answer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they are less likely to exercise. They discovered only one in every four men can work out for 30 minutes for five days weekly. These drivers are also less likely to have access to healthy, nutritious food. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits the driving hours to 11 following 10 hours of off-duty. Considering the distance they travel, drivers have no choice but to rest in the truck. Many of them convert the back for temporary housing. They may be able to eat and rest better at truck stops. But there’s a good chance the types of food they can consume are less healthy as well.

Solutions Companies Can Consider

Despite the high income, long-haul truck driving can still be expensive. Global obesity alone costs $2 trillion or 8% of the world’s gross domestic product. It is an economic burden to both the business and the employees.

One of the significant solutions is to improve the lifestyle. Staffing expert Centerline Drivers states that companies can explore temporary driver staffing. This is especially necessary during peak seasons such as the holidays. The increased number of deliveries can mean longer working hours and fatigue. They can also develop wellness programs. They can introduce strategies to help drivers stay fit and healthy even when on the road. Businesses may provide some incentives to those who can quit smoking or maintain a normal BMI.

The United States has a critical shortage of truck drivers. It can’t afford to have sickly ones plying the road. It is not safe for the drivers, the community, and the business. But these professionals need support to help them stay healthy at their jobs, especially from the companies.