Taking control
New program allows OOIDA members to customize a health and wellness plan that suits their lifestyles

By David Tanner, associate editor

As a trucking professional, you know a great deal about your equipment and how to operate safely under the rules. You do preventive maintenance to get the most out of your truck, and you seek out the information you need on issues and regulations. You are passionate about what you do.

But do you take the same approach when it comes to your own personal health and well-being? Can you really say you’ve given it your best, just as you have done with your truck and your career?

Perhaps you’ve meant to start a health and wellness program, but you ran out of time or didn’t think someone else’s diet fit your lifestyle over the road.

The topic of health for truckers has never been more important, not only because there is more information out there than ever before, but because commercial vehicle operators have entered – or are soon about to enter – a new era of DOT physicals by certified medical examiners.

As this issue went to press, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was set to begin May 21 requiring truckers to obtain their next physical from a certified examiner.

These certified examiners will be following strict guidelines when issuing medical certification cards to commercial drivers. For many, your first physical in the new era will be conducted by someone you do not know and who does not know you.

You certainly don’t want to find yourself losing out or settling for a temporary medical card because of a health issue.

Is it a good time to get serious about your health so you can affect the outcome of your future physical exams? You bet it is.

Fortunately, there’s a program that you can customize to help you improve in areas you need to work on to pass that physical.

On June 1, OOIDA announced a partnership with Human Factor Health, a wellness company that will help each participant tailor a program specific to their needs.

The program is called Well for Life. It focuses on six main areas straight out of the DOT physical form.

They are:

  • Heart disease, blood  pressure, triglycerides and  cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive system
  • Respiratory health, including  sleep apnea
  • Weight and nutrition
  • Joint and back pain

“This is really about lifestyle changes and making a difference,” said Lauren Hallberg of Human Factor Health.

OOIDA is conducting a six-month pilot program, free to the first 500 Association members who sign up.

Information on health and wellness subjects will be available to truckers at ooida.wellforlife.com. By customizing their program, truckers will receive information on only the topics they want.

Have a question about controlling your blood pressure? Use the website portal to gain information. You can even ask questions to a medical professional via the “eDoc” feature.

“The portal itself is filled with information. It’s up-to-date and extremely active,” Halberg said.

A feature that many truckers will like is that it allows participants to sign up their families.

“Family is part of an individual’s life, so they shouldn’t be separated,” Human Factor Health’s Joyce Ramay said.

In exchange for participating in the pilot program, truckers will be asked to provide feedback about the website and their health improvements at the end of the six-month trial run.

A number of programs have come and gone without an effective way to reach long-haul truckers out on the road.

That’s why OOIDA and its research foundation have chosen to get involved.

The Association stays in tune and in touch with its membership via Land Line Magazine, “Land Line Now,” social media, email and mailings.

The OOIDA Foundation’s first email blast was set to go out to members on June 1.

Once signed up, participants will be asked to fill out a survey so Well for Life can begin sending customized information about the direct correlation between lifestyle and health.

OOIDA and Well for Life will offer some incentives for truckers to enter challenges with other truckers and set goals. LL