A new study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) finds that U.S. long-haul truck drivers were twice as likely to be obese compared with the adult working population, as well as more likely to smoke and suffer from other risk factors for chronic disease.
The study, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, is the first to provide a comprehensive look at the health status, risk factors and work practices of long-haul truck drivers in the United States, according to NIOSH.
NIOSH conducted the survey in 2010, interviewing 1,670 long-haul truck drivers at truck stops across the continental United States about their health and work practices. According to the survey, 69 percent of the drivers were obese and 54 percent smoked.
Another 88 percent of long-haul truck drivers reported having at least one risk factor (hypertension, smoking and obesity) for chronic disease, compared with only 54 percent of the general U.S. adult working population.
“Truck drivers serve a vital role in our nation’s economy, ensuring the safe and timely delivery of goods across the U.S.,” said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard. “This initial survey helps us work collaboratively with the trucking industry on understanding how to improve the lives of truckers both on the road and at home.”
NIOSH said it conducted the survey because there is limited information on illnesses and injuries among long-haul truck drivers.
“The data collected from the survey will help to establish a picture of the health conditions, risk factors and work practices for U.S. long-haul truck drivers, giving the trucking industry and researchers valuable information to guide health and safety efforts,” NIOSH said in a news release.