Healthy food options and the opportunity to exercise may be limited on the road. We visited 16 truck stops across the United States and evaluated them based on a checklist to gauge how well truck stops support a healthy lifestyle for long-haul truckers. The checklist recorded resources found in a truck stop, including:
- Full-service or fast food restaurants onsite or nearby
- Truck-accessible groceries nearby
- Walking paths or designated exercise areas
- Parking in areas limited to trucks and parking areas with good lighting
- On-site healthcare clinics, or clinics that were truck-accessible nearby
- Showers, laundry, drivers’ lounge, barber or hair salon, truck hookups, and motel/hotel onsite or nearby
- Wireless internet connections or internet kiosks
What diet and exercise problems did we find?
Most truck stops did not provide an overall healthy living environment. While most truck stops we looked at had showers and laundries, motels/hotels, a driver’s lounge, and a full-service restaurant or fast food, there were few healthy food choices and few options for physical activity.
- Limited Healthy Food Options – Healthy food was available at most of the truck stop restaurants, though 25% of those we visited did not offer a healthy meat and a healthy vegetarian option. Among the convenient stores, almost 20% offered no healthy food options, including snacks.
- No Exercise Facilities – None of the truck stops visited offered exercise facilities and 81% lacked a walking path. More than half of the truck stops we visited had poorly lit parking areas, which may deter truck drivers from exercising around the parking area.
- No On-Site or Nearby Health Clinics – Most of the truck stops we visited did not have an on-site health care clinic or one nearby. Other studies have found truck drivers are unhappy with health care access while on the road because of issues with parking large trucks and trailers.