Push for healthier truckers gains momentum

By Jamie Stengle

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

A monthly membership of about $30 also gives truckers access to Snap Fitness' more than 1,300 gyms, Taunton said, 60 of which have tractor trailer-friendly parking.

Pilot Flying J plans to add a function to their smartphone app to help truckers identify healthy food choices at their locations and fast food restaurants. David Parmly, the company's employee services manager, says their truck stops have adjusted recipes to make them healthier and offer oatmeal for breakfast.

Bob Perry, president of Rolling Strong, said truckers flock to daylong wellness screenings that his company sets up at truck stops nationwide.

"We never have to recruit anyone over. We are packed from the time we open till the time we leave," Perry said.

Robinson, the U.S. Xpress driver trying to lose weight, said that before joining the weight-loss program, he spent his evenings on the road watching television, checking Facebook and talking on the phone.

"At first I was like, 'I don't know how I'm going to exercise.' At the end of the day, I don't want to walk. It's all about planning," he said. "I just had the willpower to do it."

Bruce Moss, vice president of human resources for Con-way Freight, said they've found that their wellness program reduces the number of people who call in sick, lowers workplace injuries and controls health care costs. The program gives truckers access to wellness coaches and has them stretch before starting a shift.

Last year, more than 11,500 of Con-way Freight's 21,000 employees, the majority of them drivers, consulted with wellness coaches.

Eleven carriers participated in the Truckload Carriers Association's inaugural Trucking's Weight Loss Showdown this spring, with each carrier signing up 12 employees — half drivers, half office staff. A second showdown, which, like the first, offers the individual winner $2,500, is happening this fall.

Besides taking part in association's spring weight-loss challenge, U.S. Xpress has a points system that rewards healthy behaviors with cash. They also hold health fairs and have placed blood pressure machines in their main terminals.

"All you can do is put the options out there, educate your people and show them the benefit of what happens if you take these steps," U.S. Xpress spokesman Greg Thompson said.

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