The Risk of the Road: Why Truck Drivers Struggle with Obesity

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

How hard is it to achieve a healthy trucking lifestyle? It’s harder than you may think, as obesity is a problem that plagues many drivers. But according to a study featured in the Wall Street Journal, many industries fight this issue.


People who struggle with weight are prone to hypertension, causing sick days and high stress levels. As a result, the article says companies spend more than $73 billion each year fighting the disease. Even professions that have low obesity rates must deal with the problem.


Just take a look at this infographic featured in the article:

As you can see, drivers are near the top of the list with a 32.8% obesity rate in the U.S.

This is troubling information, but sheds light on a significant issue. Truck drivers play a vital role in Canada’s economy, safely delivering important goods across North America. This is why staying happy, healthy, and efficient must be a priority.


Click here to read the Wall Street Journal article, “Memo to Staff: Time to Lose a Few Pounds”.


Why a Healthy Trucking Lifestyle Is Hard to Achieve


It’s no secret that truck drivers are strapped to their seats for long periods of time. Whereas many people with office jobs can leave the computer for a quick walk every hour or so, drivers stay focused on the road. This hurts weight-loss efforts, as they don’t have the chance to burn calories throughout the day.


Poor sleep schedules also cause weight problems. A 2006 study that examined almost 5,000 Brazilian truck drivers determined that ever-changing rest patterns are associated with obesity. But due to irregular shifts, shortened sleep times are almost inevitable.


Healthy Trucking Tips


It may be difficult, but becoming a healthy driver is certainly worth it.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while on the road:

  • Avoid caffeine. You can drink some coffee when you wake up, but don’t have any before napping. You can’t afford to further hurt your sleep patterns.

  • Drink water instead. Always have a bottle within reach, as staying hydrated keeps your digestive tract in shape.

  • Take vitamins. A vitamin C pill in the morning strengthens your immune system, helping you ward off viruses that hurt your stomach. Complement it with a vitamin D pill to prevent hypertension.

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Doing so lowers blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer. They’re also a healthy alternative to most snacks.




On top of promoting these tips, should the trucking industry take an aggressive approach to weight loss?


It’s difficult to say, as companies would have to create detailed policies to improve driver wellness. Regardless, we must encourage healthy trucking. The industry’s future could depend on it.


>>Creating a healthy work environment for truck drivers is a priority for JBT Transport. Contact us today to learn about our values and career opportunities.

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