Two-thirds of Australian truck drivers are obese

Roughly two thirds of Australian truck drivers are obese, according to a study conducted by Dr. Marguerite Sendall of QUT’s School of Public Health and Social Work at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation.

Dr. Sendall surveyed 231 Australian truck drivers between the ages of 20 and 71. Again, around two thirds were found to be extremely overweight and thus have an increased risk of developing serious health issues.

“Truck drivers’ work environments generally consist of long sedentary hours, erratic schedules and tight deadlines,” Dr. Sendall said, according to Medical News. “They have limited access to healthy food options or physical activity and are therefore considered to be at a far greater risk of life-threatening conditions like cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.”

Dr. Sendall and her colleagues asked the truckers a series of questions about their diets and level of exercise, as well as their sources of medical information. The multiple choice survey was done at a truck show in Brisbane. The results were published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The study also focused on the ways in which the problem of obesity among truck drivers can be combated.

“Our previous research has suggested the use of social media and digital technologies as a health promotion intervention for truck drivers has potential,” Dr. Sendall explained. “Truck drivers work long hours, are a highly mobile, pressured and hard-to-reach group so traditional health promotion strategies, such as television campaigns, can easily be missed. However, transport industry workplaces, including truck cabs, depots and truck stops, are seen as settings where health messages can be promoted effectively.

“It has been shown that workplace health promotion can generate improvements in drivers’ health knowledge, behaviors and self-reported health outcomes, as well as ease the burden on our public health system. Our research demonstrates a need for industry-wide adoption of this approach, along with some government incentives to encourage that Australia-wide.”

The problem of obesity among Australian truck drivers is considerably worse than it is among the country’s general population, roughly one third of whom are obese.

Jeffrey Boyle

Jeffrey Boyle is from Madison, Wisconsin, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in business communications. When he's not reading or writing about construction equipment and machinery, he can probably be found walking--or being walked by--his three Boston Terriers.