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Healthy Trucker Challenge Draws Attention to Driver Lifestyles

It’s been well known for a long time that truck drivers face unique challenges in trying to stay fit and eat well. Anyone who travels a lot knows it can be really hard to eat well and find time to exercise when spending days away from home. Obviously, truckers, whose job involves constantly traveling and being away from home face the most significant obstacles in trying to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

Those obstacles were revealed in detail by a 2010 survey which found that 69 per cent of the 1,670 truck drivers interviewed were obese, while more than half smoked. At the same time, 88 per cent of the drivers who participated in the survey reported having at least one risk factor for chronic disease, including hypertension, smoking, or obesity. By comparison, only 54 percent of the wider U.S. adult population reported having at least one of these risk factors.Healthy_trucker

To draw attention to this very serious issue, this past weekend at the American Trucking Association Management Conference and Exhibition, a group of trucking executives and a team of professional truck drivers competed in the Healthy Trucker Challenge. The team with the highest number of steps taken throughout the conference was named winner and members of the winning team received Fitbit activity devices.

This year’s victor: the pro truck drivers, all of whom belong to America’s Road Team, a national driver safety public outreach program. In total, the teams took more than a million steps (walking more than five hundred miles) during the four-day conference, which was held in San Diego, California.

Leading the charge was America Road Team captain Eddie Weeks, who works for Alabama-based AAA Cooper. “This was a great way to promote healthy habits and get the competitive juices flowing while here at MC&E,” noted Weeks, who took more than 100,000 steps during the conference.

Weeks says the goal of the Healthy Trucker Challenge is to encourage truckers to stay “fit and active, even while on the road”. According to American Trucking Association (ATA) senior vice president Elisabeth Barna, it’s about starting a conversation about truck drivers’ lifestyle habits. “We hope that everybody gets involved and takes it back to their own organizations,” Barna said.

Do you try and eat well and exercise while on the road? Let us know your tips for in the comments below.