Bus/limo/taxi Transportation Worker health and wellness

Sedentary time puts bus drivers at risk for health problems: study

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Photo: American Bus Association

Loughborough, England – Bus drivers sit for prolonged periods of time both on and off the job, placing them at higher risk of developing heart disease and other serious health problems, according to a recent study from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

Bus drivers who participated in the study agreed to wear devices that tracked sedentary time. Each driver was tracked for a minimum of three workdays and at least one day off.

Researchers determined that bus drivers were sedentary for more than 12 hours a day on workdays and nearly nine hours a day on non-workdays. During workdays, the drivers sat for up to three hours longer than office workers who wore the same device. Nearly three-quarters of the bus driver participants were overweight or obese, which also increased their risk of developing heart disease.

Both findings reinforced bus drivers’ status as a “priority group” for health interventions, researchers said. “This is why health interventions are needed sooner rather than later, not only to help increase bus drivers’ movement during scheduled breaks, but also to boost drivers’ levels of physical activity during leisure time,” Veronica Varela Mato, of Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, said in a press release.

“This study should serve as an incentive for more thorough research in occupational settings like these, with larger and more diverse groups of drivers,” Varela Mato added. “Regularly breaking up periods of sitting has been linked to health benefits, so a feasible approach to improving bus drivers’ overall health and well-being could be, for example, to introduce pedometer-based walking challenges.”

At press time, the study was expected to be published in the June issue of the journal Preventive Medicine Reports.

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