Overweight and Obese truck drivers can expect the cost of their employer provided health insurance costs to rise. This is because trucking companies are seeing their insurance premiums rise as a result of the health conditions of many of its drivers. Consequently, companies could require drivers to pay a higher portion of their health insurance premiums based upon their particular health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or being overweight. This could affect a great number of truck drivers who currently suffer with serious health conditions.
An estimated 80% of truck drivers in the United States are overweight or obese. A large percentage of drivers weight 300 pounds or more. The Centers For Disease Control has indicated that commercial truck drivers live approximately 61 years. This is 16 years lower than the national average. The primary reasons for this disparity in life expectancy are the numerous health conditions that accompany obesity. These would include hypertension, sleep apnea, stroke and diabetes which are prevalent among truck drivers.
The primary cause of sleep apnea is being overweight. Sleep apnea is a disorder where breathing is interrupted during one’s sleep due to a blocked or collapsed airway. Extra body weight can cause the airway to close off due to extra pressure on the airway during rest. Trucking companies currently screen drivers for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is treated primarily with a continuous positive air pressure machine or CPAP for short. CPAP’s have proven to be a successful treatment for sleep apnea. However, many truck drivers say they don’t like them and refuse to use them.
The poor health condition of overweight truck drivers is a contributing factor in causing accidents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that heavy and tractor/trailer drivers account for 13 percent of all fatal occupational injuries. Some of these accidents are the result of driver error. Some are due to the driver falling asleep at the wheel. Others are due to health problems such as the driver having a heart attack or being in diabetic shock.
The trucking industry does not want to lose drivers and have made serious efforts to address the health of truck drivers. Some trucking companies such as Prime Trucking have on-site exercise facilities at the company headquarters for all employees including truck drivers. Many truckstops have walking trails and free fitness centers and more are being planned. Truckstop restaurants have begun offering healthier food options. However, it’s up to the drivers to take advantage of these options. Perhaps the prospect of having to pay extra for their health insurance will encourage them to do so.
Truck drivers can lose weight. However, it will require discipline on their part to do so. They also must exercise and eat healthier meals and snacks. If you happen to be an overweight truck driver, you can be encouraged knowing that weight loss is possible. Forget about quick weight loss plans. Instead, consult with your health practitioner before embarking on a weight loss program. Your practitioner can put together a weight loss plan for you based upon your particular health needs. Check out the following before and after weight loss picture. You too can succeed!