The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently conducted its own study regarding the overall health of long-haul truck drivers.
Per the CDC website, (2) the study analyzed data from 1,670 commercial truck drivers throughout the U.S., and found that a staggering 69 percent of them were obese, as defined by having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
Another 17 percent of the drivers were found to be morbidly obese, meaning that 86 percent of those commercial drivers were significantly overweight.
This is troubling, because only 30 percent of working Americans are obese, and seven percent are morbidly obese.
Per the article: “Obesity increases the chance for type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, cancer, joint and back pain, and stroke. These health conditions can disqualify a driver from receiving their commercial driver’s license and essentially take away their livelihood.”
And per an article in Corporate Wellness Magazine, (3) half of all commercial truck drivers in the U.S. are obese, and the incidences of diabetes among them are 50 percent higher than in the general population.
More than 80 percent of truck drivers report having high-blood pressure, which is higher than the national average of 58 percent.
But the article also indicated that many of these medical conditions are preventable:
“…54 percent of commercial drivers smoke cigarettes and only 8 percent exercise. With the proper lifestyle choices, these drivers can reduce their disease risk and increase their life expectancy and quality of life.”
Although the FMCSA does require that prospective commercial truck drivers undergo and pass a thorough physical prior to employment, many conditions such as hypertension and obesity occur after a driver has already obtained a license.
Thankfully, some large carriers are beginning to understand the importance of wellness, and are instituting exercise and fitness programs as well as mental health education to improve the wellbeing of their drivers.