WE live an exciting life here on the Motoring Desk. Last Thursday lunchtime, I picked up one of the Dublin Bikes from outside the office and cycled up to Cook’s Academy on South William Street for a quite revolting shot of wheatgrass.
This was a taster for an interesting briefing by Ford Ireland as it launched its Drive to Fitness campaign, which is aimed at encouraging company car and van drivers to look after their health through better food choices and more regular exercise.
Ford commissioned research into the lifestyle of these drivers, and the findings show they have health issues that are mainly attributable to the sedentary and often stress-filled nature of their work.
Some of the research was quite shocking. Seventy-four per cent of respondents admitted to being overweight — even allowing for some drivers who did not truthfully answer this question, that is roughly 18 per cent more than in the adult population at large.
In spite of the above statistic, 57 per cent of drivers still maintain they are healthy.
Forty-one per cent of drivers admitted to regularly eating lunch in their vehicles, with 46 per cent providing a packed lunch while 24 per cent opt for takeaway food from shops or garages.
Thirty per cent of drivers smoke, and of these, 95 per cent smoke more than 30 cigarettes a day. This contrasts with the adult population generally, less than a quarter of whom smoke. While more than half of drivers claim to exercise two to three times per week, only 27 per cent feel exercise would contribute to their health and well-being
And 92 per cent say their employers do not promote healthy eating programmes or provide medical screening.
Eddie Murphy, chairman and chief executive of Ford Ireland, said: “Spending a large part of your working day behind the wheel can very often lead to a stressful and potentially unhealthy lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Our campaign tries to highlight simple steps that these drivers can take in order to redress the balance.”
Eddie said he was hoping that van man could give up his breakfast roll.
The Road Safety Authority and the Health and Safety Authority have both endorsed the Drive to Fitness campaign.
As part of the campaign, Ford has partnered with nutritional therapist, Elsa Jones, and they have produced a handy information leaflet that gives helpful nutrition tips for drivers. The leaflet also includes information on exercises that can help to keep drivers alert and fit for the road. The information leaflets are available from Applegreen fuel outlets and Ford Dealerships nationwide.
The Ford Drive to Fitness survey of more than 600 drivers was carried out by Fleet Transport magazine.
Originally published in