Truck drivers benefit from workplace health initiative


Healthy options program helps drivers make lifestyle changes.

Truck drivers benefit from workplace health initiative
QUT health promotion expert Dr Marguerite Sendall.

 

A government-funded intervention aimed at improving the health of Queensland truck drivers has helped participants eat healthier, exercise more and lose weight.

The Queensland Transport Industry Workplace Health Intervention program worked with five trucking companies over two years to implement a number of initiatives to reduce health risks among truck drivers.

The Queensland University of Technology developed and ran the program with the backing of the Queensland Government.

"These interventions included offering healthy options in vending machines at work, supply of free fruit to drivers and instigating the 10,000 steps workplace challenge," QUT health promotion expert Dr Marguerite Sendall says.

"With the support of the QUT research team, each workplace implemented up to four or five interventions."

Sendall says the program led to an 18 per cent increase in the number of drivers who reported making lifestyle changes to improve their health, while there was also a 15 per cent drop in drivers self-reporting their body mass index (BMI) as obese.

"Truckies were also better informed of the Australian nutrition guideline recommendations for fruit and vegetables and drivers were also increasing their daily intake of fruit and vegetables," she says.

Sendall says long hours and the sedentary nature of truck driving can have serious health consequences for drivers.

Sendall says the program had to develop health promotion strategies to suit the mobile lifestyle of truck drivers.

"There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to improving nutrition and physical activity in transport industry workplaces," she says.

"What workplaces need to be doing is responding to the barriers in each individual workplace. For example providing microwaves and small fridges, especially for line haul drivers."

Sendall says those involved in the program expressed satisfaction with the interventions introduced during the program.

Linfox has run similar initiatives under its Healthy Fox program and had one truck driver report a 10kg weight loss in six weeks by taking part in a walking challenge.

The company is promoting healthier food and hydration options, providing health checks and educating its workers on the impacts of fatigue, drugs and alcohol.

 

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