If you work for a company that provides health care services such as weight loss counseling, sleep apnea screening and exercise facilities, don’t assume that it’s for your benefit. It’s not. They want you to be healthy so they can save money!
A study conducted by J & K Health Consulting LLC in 2006 found that the average medical cost per mile for carriers was four cents. These are projected to increase considerably over the coming years unless carriers adopt wellness programs to bring these costs down.
So, you could continue to maintain your unhealthy lifestyle if you wish, but maybe the benefits could – um, maybe – benefit you! Unless you want to end up with diabetes, obesity or lung cancer and shorten your career (or even your life), you should take advantage of any opportunities you have to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Sure, it’s nice to think that your carrier wants you to lose weight, sleep better and become fit because they care about you, but the ultimate motivation is their bottom line. The healthier you are, the less they pay in insurance premiums, the fewer worker’s compensation claims they will have and less time away from the job when you’re sick.
You might even be able to make more money (for you and for them) if you have the energy and stamina to run more miles when they’re available (and it’s legal to do so). As a bonus, you’ll certainly have more energy to enjoy your time with your family at home.
The lifestyle of an over-the-road truck driver is not easy, and it’s even harder to eat healthy and get enough exercise. An American Dietary Association study found that 86 percent of professional drivers were overweight and more than half are considered obese.
With the aging driver population and the need to cut health care costs more carriers are turning to wellness programs for their driving fleet. It’s to your benefit to take advantage of these opportunities. This article isn’t about reminding you to lose weight, quit smoking and start exercising; it’s about how to get help and motivation you need.
First, it’s up to you. No one can change your life for you. Once you decide to take advantage of this industry’s new attitude toward wellness, start asking your company benefits coordinator what is available. Check out what the travel centers are offering for healthy eating choices (more Subways anyone?).
Find out if your carrier offers sleep apnea testing or smoking cessation programs for drivers. Maybe your company offers weight loss information or nutritional counseling. Ask for prescription drug discounts and dental plan options. If they are serious about reducing health care costs, they are probably looking at these and other programs now.
If you will be attending the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville this month, bring your walking shoes. It’s time to start your efforts to live a healthier lifestyle. Join us at the Health Awareness Walk to be held Friday, March 26 at 8 am. Sign up at driverhealth.org and join other drivers and trucking industry folks as we work toward a healthier driving fleet.
Women In Trucking has recently joined Roadside Medical Clinics in the Ultimate Weight Loss challenge for our members. Ten women are currently receiving health advice, exercise tips and snacks and the support of Bob Perry as they compete for the top prize; a trip to Las Vegas and $100 gift certificate. The winner will be announced at the Great West Truck Show in June. The results are already coming in and these women are losing pounds and eating better.
Your carrier might be more interested in saving money, but you should be more interested in saving your life. Living a healthier lifestyle won’t only benefit your company; it will be to your advantage as well as that of your family.
So, check out your options, ask your carrier for their assistance in providing the incentives you need to change your eating and exercise habits, and reduce your (and your carrier’s) medical costs in the coming year.