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Truckload Carriers Association Health Fairs a Big Success
Wide variety of activities across the country gave professional drivers a fresh perspective on what it means to get healthy
Yesterday, September 17, 2013, professional truck drivers across the nation were spotted dancing, walking, practicing yoga, sampling healthy foods, and learning ways to improve their lifestyles, courtesy of free health fairs sponsored by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). The last two of the 18 fairs will take place today. Held in conjunction with National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW), the events took place at TravelCenters of America / Petro Stopping Centers (TA/Petro) locations and were coordinated with the assistance of the corresponding state trucking association and/or various companies and organizations. Each reflected the theme “Make Your Destination Another Birthday.”
“I really believe these health fairs are making a difference in the lives of some of our professional truck drivers out there,” said Steve Sichterman, chairman of TCA’s Health & Wellness Taskforce, which organized the events. “Often, people get caught up in their routines and just don’t realize they need to make changes until it is too late. Our fairs focus on showing people simple changes they can make now, while there is still time to do something about it.”
Some commonalities existed at each fair. For example, TA/Petro provided giveaways and samples from its StayFit menu. Also, almost every location offered blood pressure screenings and glucose testing by health care professionals. But the rest of the action varied with activities as diverse as the geographic locations themselves.
In Texas, at the TA New Braunfels location, getting people to move was a major focus, with participants dancing, throwing beanbags, and playing volleyball, football, basketball, and Frisbee. In California, at the TA Ontario West fair, the Greenland Holler Band performed while attendees played health trivia and checked out dog adoption services (“Adopt a Dog – Gain a Walking Partner!”). In Fultonville, New York, ladder ball, a washer toss, and hula hooping were all the rage. Several locations featured live radio broadcasts and windshield washing stations.
The health fair in Pennsylvania, at the TA in Harrisburg, was one of the busiest held on Tuesday. A highlight was two drivers who spoke about making healthy food choices on the road, including one who displayed wrappers from popular fast food items and pointed out the high calorie and sodium counts. A medical/health coordinator for a local trucking company told the crowd about “The 7 Habits of Highly Healthy People.” Other professionals conducted body analyses or calculated body fat and BMI. A yoga expert demonstrated simple yoga and breathing exercises, as well as stretches that can be done easily inside a cab.
“We had such a great time yesterday, but we always kept in mind the real reason why we were there – to try to counteract the many ill effects that a sedentary lifestyle can bring,” said Nancy Wilkes, communications director for the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, which coordinated the Harrisburg health fair. “Obesity, sleep apnea, diabetes… it’s a huge issue for this industry, especially when you consider that the average life expectancy for professional drivers is often said to be less than that of the average person. At our fair, we tried hard to show people some small changes they can make to improve their lifestyles. TA/Petro did a great job, and it was just plain fun!”
Along with TCA, Comdata, McLeod Software, Progressive, TA/Petro, U.S. Bank, XRS, and Bayer were official sponsors of the health fairs. They not only helped cover expenses for the event, but also paid for special giveaways. The state trucking associations of Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah were also major players in planning and producing their respective fairs.
Two more health fairs will take place today, September 18, in Tampa, Florida (I-4, Exit 10) and Corfu, New York (TA Pembroke location). TCA encourages everyone to follow the events on Facebook at www.truckload.org/Health or Twitter using hashtag #TCAHealth13.
Click here to view photos of the events.