211595 Health risks among U.S. long-haul truckers

Monday, November 9, 2009: 1:00 PM

Laura H. Bachmann, MD, MPH , Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Janet St. Lawrence, PhD , Behavioral Interventions Research Branch, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Diane M. Grimley, PhD , Department of Health Behavior, UAB School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL
Bronwen Lichtenstein, PhD , University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Edward Hook, MD , University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Background: Data regarding health behaviors practiced by U.S. long-haul drivers will define the scope of the health risks and inform intervention development. Methods: Face-to-face interviews of convenience samples of long-haul truckers recruited from trucking companies and truck stops to survey and test for a variety of health conditions. Results: To date, 161 drivers have enrolled: 156 males (96.9%) and 5 females (3.1%); mean age 43 years. Most drivers were white (77.6%) or black (17.4%) and hailed from 24 states; 88.4% were company drivers and 6.5% independent/owner-operator. Three-fourths of drivers felt that they were in good to excellent health and most were covered by an insurance plan. Half of male drivers had been diagnosed as hypertensive or pre-hypertensive and over half had hypercholesterolemia, and15% of all drivers were aware that they were diabetic or pre-diabetic. A third of drivers reported tobacco use, and obesity was common. Eighty-six percent of participants reported sexual activity in the previous 6 months and 4% of male drivers reported the use of illicit drugs. No driver was found to be infected with STDs or HIV though 5% were hepatitis C antibody positive. Challenges encountered in accessing this population included lack of space for screening activities (companies and truck stops), limited accessibility of drivers during standard work hours, and driver mistrust. Conclusions: Challenges to accessing U.S. long-haul drivers for health screenings are significant as are the health care needs of this population. Successful health promotion interventions need to address these issues in this important population.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Describe the challenges faced in accessing long-haul truck drivers for general health screening; 2. Describe the prevalence of general health problems in the long-haul trucker population

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: performed research and published in subject matter
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.