Truckers on the road to good health

Two south-west groups are seeking to debunk the myth that good health is the price truck drivers pay for the job.

The federal government has given Great South Coast Medicare Local (GSCML) nearly $400,000 to trial an innovative health program to tackle obesity and poor diet with Ryan's Transport.

Health problems in the industry are far from new but attempts to turn it around have made little impact.

"Things have happened with trucking companies in the past but they're very haphazard and there's not a lot that's been done in Australia," community health co-ordinator Carly Dennis said.

"Being able to stop somewhere that is readily available and healthy isn't really an option when you're in a huge truck, so they've got issues such as obesity, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease."

Half the company's 120 workforce have gone through health checks, while 50 have signed on for a two-year program that will focus on exercising at truck stops and packing more home-cooked meals for long journeys.

Exhausted truck drivers also have difficult y differentiating between physical and mental fatigue, a problem which leads to extra eating.

Ryan's marketing manager Richard Van Bergeijk said the company was well aware of the challenges.

"We jumped on it (the program)," he said.

"We know that when you drive from Warrnambool to Melbourne there's only so many places you can go to eat in a healthy manner."

The program will run until June 2015.

s.mccomish@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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