WARTA seeks healthy food options at truck stops

WARTA teams up with Diabetes Research WA to provide better food options for truck drivers.

WARTA seeks healthy food options at truck stops
The former manager of the Kewdale BP in Western Australia

The Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA) is working with its charity partner Diabetes Research WA to get healthier food options available for truck drivers.

Diabetes Research WA executive director Sherl Westlund says that the amount of healthy options available for truck drivers is unacceptable, and that they are working with the WARTA to raise awareness of this issue.

Westlund says that she remembers visiting a major truck stop and encountering not a single healthy food option on the menu.

"Biscuits, chips, lollies, pizza, sausages and chiko rolls – the burger was the best thing there. It was really sad, I was really quite distressed," Westlund adds.

Westlund says that a truck driver’s job already contains a number of risk factors for obesity and type two diabetes, including stress that can arise from being constantly under time pressure.  She says that further research is forthcoming, but the inaccessibility of healthy food options is a "glaringly obvious" issue.

"This is really early days but it has actually sparked a conversation already," Westlund adds.

WARTA Freight Operations manager Haydn Hampel says that at the moment the goal is to simply get the message out to the industry, but in the future they plan to put together some sort of program.

"We’re trying to get the message out to industry and the wider community that the food available to truck drivers isn’t really of high enough quality," Hampel says.

Both the WARTA and Diabetes Research WA agree that a holistic approach is required so that both truck drivers and truck stop operators can make changes. They say that the truck drivers themselves have to create a demand for healthier options, and the truck stops have to provide it.

"An option has to be there for someone to eat it," Hampel adds.

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