New roadside health solutions help at-risk drivers keep on truckin’

Rolling Strong is partnering with Healthy Vending Management Co. to place vending machines stocked with healthy choices at a number of driver hubs.

Out of all U.S. industries, the drivers shuttling statins and beta-blockers from the distribution centers to the pharmacies are perhaps most in need of healthcare counseling.

Professional drivers sport the highest obesity rate, with nearly 4-in-10 transportation workers considered obese, according to a recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. And according to statistics published by the Heavy Duty Trucking trade journal, as many as half of all long-haul drivers smoke tobacco; 28% suffer from hypertension (compared to 17% of manufacturing workers); 25% had high cholesterol (compared to 16%); 10% had diabetes mellitus (compared to 5%); and almost 15% had sleep apnea. Only 58% are covered by health insurance. The life expectancy of a commercial driver is 16 years shorter than the norm, the journal reported, referencing data from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention.

A proclivity toward unhealthy behaviors on the job site, in this case behind the wheel of a 80,000-lb. semi, can have pretty severe consequences. According to a study published in the October issue of Population Health Management, employees with an unhealthy diet were 66% more likely to report having experienced a loss in productivity than those who regularly ate whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Employees who exercised only occasionally were 50% more likely to report having lower levels of productivity than employees who were regular exercisers. Smokers were 28% more likely to report suffering from a drop in productivity
than nonsmokers.

There are several organizations helping those drivers to keep health and wellness in the center lane; one of the more prominent being Rolling Strong. Rolling Strong has teamed with several national healthcare-focused companies — Kroger pharmacy is the preferred provider for on-site health screenings, for example. Kroger pharmacists provide on-site biometric readings for drivers at Rolling Strong’s trucking clients and also on the road through trucker-friendly Kroger stores.

Rolling Strong most recently launched health-check stations that are being placed in truck terminals, and with that, the organization is tapping into Kroger’s network of healthcare kiosks located in front of the pharmacy counter. Drivers can sit down at one of these healthcare kiosks and with a swipe of their membership card have their weight, BMI, heart rate, blood pressure and vision measurements all uploaded to their healthcare profile. “That information is automatically populated into their web portal, so the driver can … track it,” Bob Perry, Rolling Strong president, told DSN Collaborative Care. “They can get a live screening [at Kroger] as well.”
And the health-and-wellness program provider has partnered with Bayer Healthcare on providing diabetes education and meters.

In addition to partnering with Kroger and Bayer, Rolling Strong has relationships with Snap Fitness, a 24-hour fitness center franchise with more than 1,200 locations nationwide. Rolling Strong recently launched its first 24-hour facility within a Pilot Flying J travel center in Dallas. “The membership is really growing nicely — individual drivers are joining on their own because they recognize the value,” Perry said. In addition to the Dallas hub, Rolling Strong has identified five additional locations. Perry noted that Rolling Strong is working toward opening 80 such fitness centers over the next two years.

Rolling Strong is also expanding its partnership with Healthy Vending Management Co. and placing vending machines stocked with healthier choices across many of the driver hubs of those trucking companies that have signed Rolling Strong as their corporate health-and-wellness driver.

The vending machines are stocked with Rolling Strong-
branded foods like fresh salads and healthy sandwiches. Rolling Strong is currently providing health-and-wellness initiatives across six major distribution operators.

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