A new initiative, designed to help the 220,716 HGV drivers travelling through Suffolk each year* lead healthier lifestyles, commenced at Orwell Crossing Lorry Park yesterday (22nd October).
The initiative, piloted by supermarket Morrisons who recently launched its healthier eating range, NuMe, follows new research** that nearly a third of UK truckers (28 per cent) are obese or morbidly obese, against a Suffolk average*** of a quarter (24 per cent) and a national average of a fifth (22 per cent).Commissioned by Morrisons NuMe and carried out amongst HGV drivers, the research shows limited choice of healthier food at service stations (45 per cent) as being the main reason for the trucking community’s expanding waistlines, closely followed by the belief that healthier food is not convenient (42 per cent).
In an effort to help the Suffolk’s truckers, as well as Morrisons’ 1,207 HGV and van drivers, make a U-turn to a healthier lifestyle, the initiative at Orwell Crossing Lorry Park will include:
· The NuMe HGV (Healthier Goods Vehicle): serving up tasty meals, demonstrating that eating healthier doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on taste or taking ages to prepare.
· Freshly cooked ‘fry-down’ menus: offering healthier versions of the traditional ‘fry-up’ breakfast to show the small switches truckers can make towards better health.
· ‘Weigh-by’ health check clinics: offering HGV drivers a health MOT, including a body mass index check with one-to-one advice.
Practising GP and Radio 2 Doctor, Dr Sarah Jarvis, commented:
“Typical roadside convenience foods such as burgers, sausage rolls, crisps and fry-ups are high in saturated fat; a typical fry-up can contain more than half of the recommended daily calorie allowance. Travelling for long periods can make it difficult to avoid these types of foods, especially when the roads are lined with fast food outlets. But by preparing and buying healthier food in advance, such as the Morrisons NuMe range, you can ensure you eat nutritionally balanced meals.
“Obesity is a huge burden on the NHS, and although junk food may seem a quick and easy short-term option whilst on the road, it doesn’t pay off in terms of health in the long run,” continued Dr Jarvis.
The research by Morrisons NuMe also reveals:
· 41 per cent of truck drivers worry about their health, and 22 per cent say they would like to be healthier.
· More than a third (34 per cent) say being ‘on the road’ makes it difficult to be healthy.
· Almost a third snack on biscuits, and more than a fifth snack on crisps daily.
· 70 per cent of truckers admit they do not eat fruit daily and, on average, eat just three of their five a day.
· Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) mainly eat their meals from transport cafes, service stations, depots or fast food outlets.
· The average trucker spends 20 hours a week behind the wheel, and a quarter (25 per cent) spend four out of five working days (30 hours) in their cabs.
Bryonie Hollaert, Morrisons’ nutritionist who worked with professional chefs to create the healthier NuMe range said:
“This particular community is at the extreme forefront of the rise in obesity across the UK. Because of their profession, it is particularly difficult for them to accommodate healthier eating and exercise. With our truck stop takeovers, we are providing health information, but also healthier versions of their favourite foods including bacon butties with less salt, fat, and lower calorie ingredients.
“We want to show how healthier switches can be an easier option, with the NuMe range at Morrisons being a great place to start.”
The NuMe Healthier Goods Vehicle will be visiting the Orwell Crossing Lorry Park on the 22nd October, from 6.00am, serving healthier alternative to the traditional trucker breakfast.
* Department for Transport, Traffic Counts, 2011: http://www.dft.gov.uk/traffic-counts/area.php?region=East+of+England&la=Suffolk
**OnePoll survey of 235 UK HGV drivers, October 2012, commissioned by Morrisons
*** NHS Health Profiles, March 2012: http://www.localhealth.org.uk/carto.php?lang=en&noinds=1