Special Risks for Long-Haul Truckers
Long-haul truckers are twice as likely to be obese as other working adults. Additionally, they are more likely to smoke and suffer from other risk factors for chronic disease, says a new study.
Obesity and Other Risk Factors
The National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury is said to be the “first to provide a comprehensive look at the health status, risk factors, and work practices of long-haul truck drivers in the U.S.,” according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Long-haul truck drivers are defined as “professional drivers of heavy and tractor-trailer trucks whose delivery routes require them to have to take sleep breaks away from home.” They accounted for 56 percent of all production and nonsupervisory employees in the truck transportation industry in 2011. The limited data available for their illness and injury rates prompted the study.
NIOSH researchers surveyed 1,670 long-haul truck drivers at 32 truck stops across the country in 2010. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
They found the following results:
- 69 percent were obese.
- 54 percent smoked.
- 88 percent reported having at least one risk factor — hypertension, smoking, obesity — for chronic disease compared to only 54 percent of the general U.S. adult working population.
“The data collected from this survey will help to establish a picture of the health conditions, risk factors, and work practices for U.S. long-haul truck drivers, giving the trucking industry and researchers valuable information to guide health and safety efforts,” NIOSH said.