Lose it to win it

| May 31, 2007

By John Randle
Publisher
jrandle@rrpub.com

The quest to lose weight is a subject that’s gaining momentum in almost every area of trucking. Now fleets are starting to weigh in on the growing problem of obesity-related diseases that plague the trucking population.

The media spotlight on obesity’s deadly consequences has resulted in a surge of interest in the quest to help truckers adopt healthier lifestyles, and trucking companies are taking notice. Not only do fleets need healthy truckers to drive their trucks, they need to address the spiraling health care costs of major diseases related to obesity like diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnea. Truckers are interested in losing weight, but the lifestyle has always made healthy eating and exercise difficult.

But things are changing, and old-timers say they’ve never seen such an increase in healthy choices at truckstops, truckers exercising during their downtime and fleets offering incentives to lose weight. Sure, there’s a long way to go, but it’s good to see the enthusiasm build for weight-loss and fitness programs.

One fleet used old-fashioned competitive spirit and financial incentives to encourage employees to lose weight. Indianapolis-based Celadon Group says its Highway 2 Health wellness initiative has been a huge success, with 73 employees losing nearly 1,000 pounds by participating in a Weight Watchers course. The company offered to pay the cost of participation in the program for drivers who completed the full 12 weeks and lost 5 percent of their body weight.

The program included a competitive element at Celadon’s U.S. headquarters, pitting two teams of drivers against each other. The winning team lost 387 pounds and will receive a nutritionally-balanced lunch from the other team as their reward.

“I can’t express how proud we are of every employee who has participated,” says Celadon chairman and CEO Steve Russell. “With an average weight loss of 13 pounds per person, we are all sharing in the excitement of their results.” The results were so encouraging the company plans to offer the program again.

Next issue we’ll give you an update on the incredible success of our Fit for the Road participants.

If you’d like to recognize a fleet or truckstop for their effort in the battle of the bulge, please give me a call.

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