The purposes of this study were to analyze the prevalence of selected health problems in a sample of truck drivers and to describe the relationship between demographic and occupational characteristics, lifestyle behavior, and selected health problems among a group of truck drivers in Taiwan. Pender's Health Promotion Model was used as part of the conceptual framework of the study. Fifteen hundred fifty-eight participants were recruited to complete the Health Promotion Lifestyle Profile II (HPLP II) and the Demographic, Occupational, and Health status (DOH) questionnaire. With permission of participants, Employee Annual Health Data (EAHD) was linked to the HPLP II and DOH questionnaires. Data analysis methods included descriptive statistics, independent t-tests, chi-square tests, odds ratios, and logistic regression.
Truck drivers in the study were predominantly male (99%), Taiwanese (79%), 35 years old (mean), married (62%), high school graduates (73%) and earned from $1,350-1,950 (U.S. dollars) per month. Drivers averaged 8 years of work experience with 13-hour-work days and drove 45 miles (73 kilometers) per day. Physical inactivity (69%), high tobacco (cigarette) use (60%), regular alcohol consumption (32%), and low percentage of betel nut use (<2%) were noted. The prevalence of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperglycemia, central obesity (by waist circumference) and obesity (by BMI) was 13%, 11%, 14%, 3%, 25%, and 19%, respectively.
Of the demographic characteristics, age was a predictor of hypertension and hyperglycemia. None of the three occupational characteristics (work experience, work hours, or driving distance) nor the HPLP-II subscale scores were model predictors for any of the health problems. Engaging in tobacco use or alcohol consumption increased the risk of hypertriglyceridemia. Central obesity and obesity were leading predictors in the models for health problems. Nurses in the community should track the health of truck drivers and develop educational plans with them to address health risks and concerns. There should be an emphasis on strategies for weight maintenance and reduction, promotion of physical activity, smoking cessation, and reduction of other risk behaviors for truck drivers.