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Posted January 12, 2016

weight loss truckers

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Staying in good shape doesn’t come easily. It requires a commitment to a healthy eating style, complemented by regular exercise. Due to the necessities of life, however – like work, family and maintaining a healthy social life – it can be difficult to walk this delicate balance.

This is particularly true for fleet drivers, where long hours behind the wheel and poor eating habits combine to make it one of the top professions for overweight workers.

According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, back in 2011 roughly 86 percent the 3.2 million commercial vehicle operators in the United States were overweight, Staying in good shape doesn’t come easily. It requires a commitment to a healthy eating style, complemented by regular exercise. Due to the necessities of life, however – like work, family and maintaining a healthy social life – it can be difficult to walk this delicate balance. This is particularly true for fleet drivers, where long hours behind the wheel and poor eating habits combine to make it one of the top professions for overweight workers. According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, back in 2011 roughly 86 percent the 3.2 million commercial vehicle operators in the United States were overweight, The New York Times reported at the time. Fast-forward to today, and that rate hasn’t changed all that much. Take Washington State as an example. The top two occupational groups with the highest obesity rates in the state are in the transportation industry, truck drivers and material moving, respectively, the New York Daily News reported from the study, "Obesity Prevalence by Occupation." The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has chimed in on the health issue of fleet drivers as well. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which is overseen by the CDC, long-haul drivers were found to be two times as likely to be overweight or obese when compared with other adults in different lines of work. John Howard, M.D., NIOSH director, noted how this is a serious concern, given that much of the nation’s economy depends on the health and wellness of commercial carriers. "This initial survey helps us work collaboratively with the trucking industry on understanding how to improve the lives of truckers both on the road and at home," said Howard. Though the fleet and motor carrier industry does often require heavy lifting, for the most part, it’s a very sedentary profession. These numbers help to re-establish this. But there are a number of strategies you can impart to your drivers to enable your fit workers to stay that way and for those who need to lose some weight to do so. Here are some suggestions:

Find ways to walk more regularly
Health advocates say that walking can often be just as effective as running when it comes to shedding pounds. Hours spent behind the wheel makes that difficult. Encourage your drivers to come up with opportunities where they can stretch their legs out to walk. For instance, if they need to take a bathroom break while out on the road, parking as far away from an establishment that has a restroom can serve as one way to walk more. You should also recommend that your drivers take the stairs when making a delivery rather than using an elevator. Small adjustments like these add up over time.

Eat healthy
The concept is pretty simple: Calories in, calories out. In other words, if your drivers burn more than they consume, they’ll be able to lose weight. The principle sounds easy enough, but saying it and doing it are two very different things, especially when convenience stores – which carry high-calorie snacks – are around every corner. Your drivers can reduce the temptation to snack on empty calories by preparing something from home. Celery sticks, carrots and sliced bell peppers can be both nourishing and satisfying.

Establish a routine
It’s said that it takes three weeks for a habit to take hold. If your drivers have recently joined a gym, encourage them to stick it out for at least three weeks. It may be hard for them to do initially, but the longer they’re faithful with their exercise, the easier it will get over time. The Healthy Trucker has compiled a list of other weight loss tips from professionals in the transportation industry, The New York Times reported at the time.

Fast-forward to today, and that rate hasn’t changed all that much. Take Washington state as an example. The top two occupational groups with the highest obesity rates in the state are in the transportation industry, truck drivers and material moving, respectively, the New York Daily News reported from the study, “Obesity Prevalence by Occupation.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has chimed in on the health issue of fleet drivers as well. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is overseen by the CDC, long-haul drivers were found to be two times as likely to be overweight or obese when compared with other adults in different lines of work.

John Howard, M.D., NIOSH director, noted how this is a serious concern, given that much of the nation’s economy depends on the health and wellness of commercial carriers.

“This initial survey helps us work collaboratively with the trucking industry on understanding how to improve the lives of truckers both on the road and at home,” said Howard.

Though the fleet and motor carrier industry does often require heavy lifting, for the most part, it’s a very sedentary profession. These numbers help to re-establish this. But there are a number of strategies you can impart to your drivers to enable your fit workers to stay that way and assist with weight loss for those who need it.

Here are some suggestions:

Find ways to walk more regularly
Health advocates say that walking can often be just as effective as running when it comes to shedding pounds. Hours spent behind the wheel makes that difficult. Encourage your drivers to come up with opportunities where they can stretch their legs out to walk. For instance, if they need to take a bathroom break while out on the road, parking as far away from an establishment that has a restroom can serve as one way to walk more. You should also recommend that your drivers take the stairs when making a delivery rather than using an elevator. Small adjustments like these add up over time.

Eat healthy
The concept is pretty simple: Calories in, calories out. In other words, if your drivers burn more than they consume, they’ll be able to lose weight. The principle sounds easy enough, but saying it and doing it are two very different things, especially when convenience stores – which carry high-calorie snacks – are around every corner. Your drivers can reduce the temptation to snack on empty calories by preparing something from home. Celery sticks, carrots and sliced bell peppers can be both nourishing and satisfying.

Establish a routine
It’s said that it takes three weeks for a habit to take hold. If your drivers have recently joined a gym, encourage them to stick it out for at least three weeks. It may be hard for them to do initially, but the longer they’re faithful with their exercise, the easier it will get over time.

The Healthy Trucker has compiled a list of other weight loss tips from professionals in the transportation industry.

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