Active Living in the Trucking Sector: Environmental Barriers and Health Promotion Strategies

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

As one of the most underserved segments of the U.S. labor force, truck drivers have been associated with a series of morbid conditions intimately linked to their occupational milieux, their mostly unhealthful nutritional intake and sedentary lifestyles, and their resulting excess weight-gain.

Methods:

This paper reports data from a baseline assessment of 25 trucking work settings located around interstate highways I-40 and I-85 in North Carolina. It examines how the environmental attributes of these work settings influence the physical and recreational activity behaviors of truckers, compares findings with those from other occupational environments, and brings to the fore a new health promotion paradigm for trucking worksites.

Results:

Findings support growing empirical and anecdotal evidence that trucking work settings remain not only active-living deserts, but overall unhealthful places. A scan of physical, social, and information environments within trucking worksites as well as physical environments of surrounding communities reveal only meager opportunities for physical and recreational activity for truckers.

Conclusion:

This paper places the highly underserved population of truckers firmly within the discourse of worksite health promotion, and calls for comprehensive multistakeholder wellness strategies that address a multitude of risk factors linked to the occupational context.

Apostolopoulos, Strack, and Jones are with the Dept of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Shattell is with the School of Nursing, DePaul University, Chicago, IL. Sönmez is with the Bryan School of Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Haldeman is with the Dept of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro.