Cross-sectional surveillance study to phenotype lorry drivers’ sedentary behaviours, physical activity and cardio-metabolic health

Objectives: Elevated risk factors for a number of chronic diseases have been identified in lorry drivers. Unhealthy lifestyle behaviours such as a lack of physical activity (PA) and high levels of sedentary behaviour (sitting) likely contribute to this elevated risk. This study behaviourally phenotyped UK lorry drivers’ sedentary and non-sedentary behaviours during workdays and non-workdays and examined markers of drivers cardio-metabolic health. Setting: a transport company from the East Midlands, UK. Participants: a sample of 159 male heavy goods vehicle drivers (91% White European; [median(Range)] age: 50(24, 67)years) completed the health assessments. 87 (age: 50.0(25.0, 65.0); BMI: 27.7(19.6, 43.4)kg/m2) provided objective information on sedentary and non-sedentary time. Outcomes: Participants self-reported their socio-demographic information. Primary outcomes: Sedentary behaviour and PA, assessed over 7 days using an activPAL3 inclinometer. Cardio-metabolic markers included: blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC), body composition, and fasted capillary blood glucose (FBG), triglycerides (TGs), HDL-Cholesterol (HDL-C), LDL-Cholesterol (LDL-C) and Total-Cholesterol (TC) levels. These cardio-metabolic markers were treated as secondary outcomes. Results: Lorry drivers’ presented an unhealthy cardio-metabolic health profile (median (IQR-ranges) Systolic BP: 129(108.5, 164) mmHg; Diastolic BP: 81(63, 104)mmHg; BMI: 29(20, 47)kg/m2; WC: 102(77.5, 146.5)cm; LDL-C: 3(1, 6)mmol/l; TC: 4.9(3, 7.5)mmol/l). 84% were overweight or obese, 43% had type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes and 34% had the Metabolic Syndrome. The sub-sample of lorry drivers with objective postural data (n=87) accumulated 13hours/day and 8hours/day of sedentary behaviour on workdays and non-workdays (p<0.001), respectively. On average, drivers accrued 12min/day on workdays and 6min/day on non-workdays of moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA). Conclusion: Lorry drivers demonstrate a high-risk cardio-metabolic profile and are highly sedentary and physically inactive. Interventions to reduce sitting and increase MVPA during breaks and leisure-time to improve cardio-metabolic health are urgently needed. Educational programs to raise awareness about diet and exercise are recommended.