Lorry drivers have been identified as a population at high risk of developing several long-term health conditions linked to inactivity and poor diet.
Lorry drivers are at risk of conditions including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease due to the enforced sedentary nature of their occupation, along with restrictive operational procedures imposed by driver legislation.
With several hundred thousand licensed LGV drivers in the UK, there is a real need to identify effective ways to circumvent these obstacles to health within this population.
Researchers within the Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) are working intimately with Walkers Snack Foods in Leicester, seeking to identify specific barriers to physical activity and healthy diets within the lives of Walkers’ drivers.
The research team has used a host of qualitative and quantitative research methods to develop a greater understanding of the lives of the drivers, both in and out of working hours. This information has been used to develop a bespoke, science-led intervention (the Structured Health Intervention For Truckers (SHIFT) study), seeking to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time and improve dietary quality across the driver population.
The backbone of this programme is a tailored, structured education package combined with a novel ‘cab-workout’ and wider changes to the environment, both inside and outside the occupational setting.