Obesity is a health condition where fat accumulates abnormally or excessively in adipose tissue. This condition is measured using body mass index, but sometimes the circumference of someone’s waist is used to determine whether they are overweight or obese. The obesity cases among adults and children in the United Kingdom have increased. The truck drivers are however at the highest risk of becoming obese. The heavy goods truck drivers have the challenge of choosing healthy foods and others believe that healthy foods are expensive and inconvenient to get. The trade unions have the responsibility of sensitising the truck drivers to maintain a healthy life by eating healthy food and exercising.
The health of union members is very crucial as obesity is associated with diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Approximately 28 per cent of the United Kingdom truck drivers are obese (PLC, 2012). Majority of the truck drivers are members of United Road Transport Union. This union was first registered in 1890, but its name was United Carters Association. It adopted its latest name in 1964 and is currently the only trade union specialised road haulage, distribution as well as in transport logistics (“United Road Transport Union: URTU,” n.d.). The union members benefit from support from the union whenever they face bullying or any form of discrimination in the workplace. In this case, the union should address the issues of increasing cases of obesity among its members.
However, before implementing necessary measures that will be used to reduce the cases of overweight among the truck drivers the union has to carry out thorough research to establish the causes of obesity (Feldmann, & Hamm, 2015). Obesity does not only affect the health of the drivers but also their work. This is because a driver who is overweight might be medically disqualified. The driver’s short term medical clearance can also be revoked which may subsequently lead to revocation of the Commercial Driver’s license (CDL). This has an impact on the entire transport workforce because it will lead to a shortage of drivers who are physically fit to do the job.
To address this health problem and promote the health of the truck drivers different theories can be applied (Murcott, 2018). Unhealthy eating is a behavioural problem so it can be solved if the drivers and the trade unions understand the most effective approaches. Before dealing with the problem, it is essential to understand the significance of consumers’ opinions towards their health. Also, to understand why they consume meals and how this behaviour can be changed it will be critical to evaluate different levels of influence and undertake behaviour change as a process, not as a single action.
All the parties involved in behaviour change must be able to differentiate motivation and intention as well as intention versus action (Murcott, 2018). The process does not end at changing the behaviour, but the proper behaviour will need to be maintained. To change and sustain the appropriate behaviour the theory that is most suited to the problem has to be identified and used. For any theory to bear fruits, the problem has to be correctly identified. Also, the goal has to be established, and those who are pioneering change identified and effectively addressed.
Behaviour change theories are effective if they are evidence-based (Murcott, 2018). This means that they have been used previously and they were successful. It is also necessary to understand personal characteristics such as beliefs and attitudes that influence a person to adopt a particular behaviour. Assessment of the influence of family, friends and peers should also be carried out. Society and community setups also influence behaviour; hence the need to consider these factors when carrying out behaviour change. Rules, regulations and policies also affect behaviour hence the need to consider them when changing behaviour.
The messages are important in health promotion so they should be coded in a way that trade unions will understand (Murcott, 2018). They must have an understanding of why there is a rise in the cases of obesity among truck drivers. Some of the theories that will be used to explain the effects on a message on behaviours are reasoned action theory and health belief model.
Feldmann, C., & Hamm, U. (2015). Consumers’ perceptions and preferences for local food: A review. Food Quality and Preference, 40, 152-164.
Murcott, A. (2018). The nation’s diet: The social science of food choice. Routledge.
PLC, M. (2012). Britain’s truck drivers are putting the ‘Heavy’ in Heavy Goods Vehicle. Retrieved from https://www.morrisons-corporate.com/media-centre/consumer-news/britains-truck-drivers-putting-the-heavy-in-heavy-goods-vehicle/
United Road Transport Union: URTU. Retrieved from http://www.urtu.com/