Shunting trailers without the help of terminal tractors can be dangerous. And so can hauling those trailers. In recent studies, long-haul drivers have been shown to be exceptionally at-risk of Type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle, a main risk factor in this chronic condition across the board, is to blame.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Common in the United States, Type 2 diabetes has experienced a four-fold increase from 1980-2014. Growing in prevalence, this condition affects the way the body produces insulin, limiting its effectiveness in metabolizing sugar.
Drivers Have a Higher Risk of Type 2 Diabetes than Others
A 2010 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study revealed keen insight into long-haul driver behavior and health. Truck drivers have a significantly higher risk of Type 2 diabetes than the average American: 14% of drivers suffer Type 2 diabetes, versus 9.4% of the general population.
What Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices Put Long-Haul Drivers At Risk?
The lonely, sedentary nature of long-haul runs are not conducive to healthy living, nor is eating outside of the home – the only option for drivers on long freight routes. Frequent sleeping away means no or minimal access to healthy, fresh, home-cooked fare.
Tight schedules combined with lackluster rest in strange hotels often increase fatigue and stress, limiting opportunities for exercise. In fact, more than one-quarter of study respondents reported no exercise in the past 7 days. Fifty-one-percent smoked. Sixty-nine-percent were obese (versus 33% of the general population); 17% morbidly obese – 10% higher than the general public. All of these are known risk factors for poor health and diabetes.
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