Drivers with and without Obesity Respond Differently to a Multi-Component Health Intervention in Heavy Goods Vehicle Drivers

Katharina Ruettger* (Corresponding Author), Stacy A. Clemes, Yu-Ling Chen, Charlotte L. Edwardson, Amber Guest, Nicholas D. Gilson, Laura J. Gray, Vicki Johnson, Nicola J. Paine, Aron P. Sherry, Mohsen Sayyah, Jacqui Troughton, Veronica Varela-Mato, Thomas Yates, James A. King

*Corresponding author for this work

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Physical inactivity and obesity are widely prevalent in Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers. We analysed whether obesity classification influenced the effectiveness of a bespoke structured lifestyle intervention (‘SHIFT’) for HGV drivers. The SHIFT programme was evaluated within a cluster randomised controlled trial, across 25 transport depots in the UK. After baseline assessments, participants within intervention sites received a 6-month multi-component health behaviour change intervention. Intervention responses (verses control) were stratified by obesity status (BMI < 30 kg/m2, n = 131; BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, n = 113) and compared using generalised estimating equations. At 6-months, favourable differences were found in daily steps (adjusted mean difference 1827 steps/day, p < 0.001) and sedentary time (adjusted mean difference −57 min/day, p < 0.001) in drivers with obesity undertaking the intervention, relative to controls with obesity. Similarly, in drivers with obesity, the intervention reduced body weight (adjusted mean difference −2.37 kg, p = 0.002) and led to other favourable anthropometric outcomes, verses controls with obesity. Intervention effects were absent for drivers without obesity, and for all drivers at 16–18-months follow-up. Obesity classification influenced HGV drivers’ behavioural responses to a multi-component health-behaviour change intervention. Therefore, the most at-risk commercial drivers appear receptive to a health promotion programme.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15546
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Research programme (reference: NIHR PHR 15/190/42). The study was also supported by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre which is a partnership between University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Loughborough University and the University of Leicester. Laura Gray is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration East Midlands (ARC EM). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. Funding to cover the intervention costs (Fitbits and cab workout equipment) was provided by the Higher Education Innovation Fund, via the Loughborough University Enterprise Projects Group. The Colt Foundation provided funding for a PhD Studentship, awarded to Amber Guest (reference: JD/618), which covered Amber’s time and contributions to this project. The funders played no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation or in the preparation of this manuscript.

Data Availability Statement

The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


  • body weight
  • occupational health
  • occupational drivers
  • physical activity
  • sedentary behaviour


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