Truckers rank most likely to be obese in occupational survey

| January 21, 2014

truck driverWashington researchers have found obesity rates vary significantly by occupation, with truckers having the highest prevalence at 39 percent.

The study analyzed Body Mass Index data of almost 38,000 employees statewide in 28 occupational categories for odd years between 2003-2009. The statistics were taken from annual survey of employees ages 18-64 and included BMI, a measurement of body fat that takes height and weight into account.

Twenty-five percent of the Washington employees were considered obese, compared to the national average of 27 percent.


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Physicians, veterinarians and other health care diagnosticians ranked the lowest among the categories at 12 percent, according to David Bonauto of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Bonauto and other researchers reported their findings in this month’s Preventing Chronic Disease, the journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

After truckers, 38 percent of transporting and moving material employees and 33 percent of police, firefighters and other protective-service workers were considered obese.

Following that were cleaning and building service occupations (30 percent), mechanics and repair persons (29 percent); administrative and clerical personnel (28 percent); salespeople (25 percent); and executives and managers (24 percent). 

Other studies have reported a higher obesity rate for truckers.

 This month, the American Journal of Industrial Medicine published the “National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury, ” which indicated 69 percent of drivers surveyed were obese. That’s echoes a 2007 study published The Journal of the American Dietetic Association indicating 66 percent of truckers were obese.


  • Andrea Sitler PhD DsC

    When you are stuck behind a wheel all day and all night; you tend to gain weight. You eat to stay awake or you smoke. Most drivers are run to the point of breaking just to make a living. An industry revamp could help this issue. Let drivers make a decent wage. Engage shippers and receivers for realistic schedules and time tables. Until trucking can become a business with “normal” hours of some sort (at least work the same “shift” instead of all around the clock); a driver rarely has time to do anything but shower, eat and drive. Not always is there shower time with 3 hr lines at many truck stops. Yes, we each need to be responsible for our own bodies but a little help from the industry would not kill any one. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.