Published: 00:00, 10 May 2016
Lorry drivers are to get a heart health MOT in a pioneering project to help tackle the high incidence of heart disease within the profession.
Healthy Living Centre Dartford (HLCD), a charity that aims to improve the health of local people, has been awarded £5,000 from national charity Heart Research UK to fund a year-long project, ‘HGV MOT’ in a bid to tackle the high incidence of heart disease within HGV drivers.
A national study found that truck drivers are twice as likely to be obese than adults in general.
It also discovered that 88% of drivers suffer from high blood pressure and smoking related problems, putting them at an increased risk of developing heart disease.
Sessions will be delivered to around 230 HGV drivers in Kent covering topics such as how certain sitting positions can affect health, how to incorporate exercise into daily activities and how to prepare low-fat, low-sugar snacks and lunches.
All drivers involved in the programme will also receive a health ‘MOT’ including a blood pressure, heart rate, weight and BMI check.
Three follow-up visits will be given during the year as part of the programme.
"The facts speak for themselves that HGV drivers do face more heart disease risk factors than others because of their sedentary lifestyle." - Barbara Harpham
Sharon Phillips, manager at the Healthy Living Centre, said: “We understand some jobs seem to have more barriers that prevent the workforce making investment in their own health and wellbeing.
“We want to work with HGV drivers in a fun and interactive way to show that making small changes to their lifestyle choices can help lead to a reduction in the risk of heart disease.”
Drivers will be recruited to take part in the project through logistics and haulage companies.
All employers will have a training day to learn about the benefits of the programme, which aims to have company-wide benefits, as it give employers healthier employees and should reduce sick leave.
The project’s success will be measured through anonymous feedback surveys and each MOT test will also be recorded allowing HLCD to monitor any improvements to health.
Heart Research UK national director, Barbara Harpham, said: “The facts speak for themselves that HGV drivers do face more heart disease risk factors than others because of their sedentary lifestyle.
“Getting drivers to understand more about simple healthy lifestyle changes that could lower their risk is very important and we look forward to seeing positive results from this pioneering project.”