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More can be done to focus on trucker health

11/14/2018

More can be done to focus on trucker health

Across the U.S., more people are gaining access to health insurance and, therefore, better care for their various ailments. One group that might find a particular benefit is truckers, whose job often makes it hard to follow the best practices for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, more people in the industry are urging professional haulers to get regular checkups and take better care of themselves.

While drivers may be broadly aware that eating a lot of fried foods and snacks, drinking little besides coffee and soda, and not getting much exercise - often every day for weeks at a time - isn't a good idea, they also don't have many other options, according to Fleet Owner. The fact is that rest stops don't exactly cater to healthier diets all the time (though this is starting to change), and driver advocates say fleets may not do enough to educate drivers about the health risks or what they might be able to do to avoid them.

"Imagine if NASA sent astronauts to outer space without educating them on the effect of zero gravity," Siphiwe Baleka, a former elite swimmer who became a trucker and now runs a trucker fitness advocacy organization, told the site. "Drivers coming into this industry are sent out having no education or training on what is going to happen to their circadian rhythm or metabolism."

More help available?
The good news is many both within and outside the trucking sector now see how big of an issue this may become, so more options for achieving better health outcomes are starting to come together for drivers across the country. That includes more literature that is specifically geared toward truckers, and what they may be able to do to boost the effectiveness of their efforts to live healthier.

The unfortuante truth is that drivers are susceptible not only to poor diets and a lack of exercise, but also problems like sleep apnea, heart disease, diabetes and more.

"I perform these tests for truck drivers in my medical practice and have seen first-hand the health problems in the trucking industry," said Dr. Susan Ashley, who recently wrote a book titled The Truckers Guide to Health and Longevity. "I couldn't find a book or guide that addressed these problems in a complete way and truckers often don't know where to turn for help, so I created one."

Other means of help?
In addition to striving for eating better and getting more exercise, drivers might also be wise to make sure they're taking vitamin supplements in certain situations, according to Truck News. While not every driver will have the same needs in terms of which kinds of supplements they need to take - and therefore it's a good idea to talk to a health care professional before committing to anything - these additions to their diet could help them achieve better health in the long run as well.

Indeed, before making any health-related decisions, talking to a doctor or nurse practitioner about the best approaches to achieving a better lifestyle is always a good idea.

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