Transport workers at high risk of diabetes

Trucking industry urged to focus more on healthy eating to stop the spread of diabetes

By Greg Bush

The trucking industry is being urged to focus more on healthy eating, with claims drivers are at risk of developing the potentially deadly disease.

Diabetes Australia has used the annual National Diabetes Week to focus the spotlight on drivers’ health and used the premises of Heavy Haulage Australia at Larapinta in Brisbane to promote its message.

Diabetes Australia Queensland Chief Executive says more than 250,000 people in Queensland alone have diabetes, with almost as many again having the disease without being aware of it.

Speaking to an audience of transport workers and the media, Trute says, according to a Newspoll survey, there are around 19,000 of new cases of type 2 diabetes each year in Queensland.

Transport Workers Union Queensland Secretary Hughie Williams believes truck drivers are high risk candidates for diabetes due to their lifestyle and diet.

"The long distance blokes out on the highways for hours and hours, sitting in the one spot, no exercise whatsoever, then they stop for a brief truck stop and there’s fish and chips or fried eggs and sausages; it’s certainly not healthy food," Williams says.

"They wash it down with a bottle of Coke or something, then get back in the truck with no exercise. Why wouldn’t they become unhealthy?"

Williams says truck driving is a hard, tough lonely life.

"They [the drivers] love it, but we’ve got to remember they are among the most important people in Australia, and without them Australia wouldn’t keep moving."

If left unchecked, diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, blindness and limb amputation. It can significantly cut short a person’s life.

But Tute says early detection and management of the condition can dramatically increase a person’s chance of living a healthy life free of complications.

National Diabetes Week ran from July 12 to July 18.

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