Fitness Friday | Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness (DHF) Program

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By: Siphiwe Baleka

July, 2013 marks the one year anniversary of Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness (DHF) Program. Normally, you will hear me talk about the successes and benefits of the DHF Program (see links below). However, I want to talk about the “failure” of the DHF program. In spite of the phenomenal results of the first eight classes in which the average weight loss was 19.3 lbs. in just 13 weeks, the number of applications for the program in the first year (through June 2013) was just 203 out of 6,151 drivers in the entire Prime fleet. That’s just 3.3% of the fleet. In the first eight classes, 109 drivers actually enrolled in the program and 54 drivers successfully completed the program. That’s just 0.8% of the fleet. This is the failure of the DHF program. The question is: why are so few drivers taking advantage of the DHF program? Do the drivers still not know about it or know enough about it? Is it too expensive?  Is the perception of the program that it is too hard? Do drivers just not care? Quite honestly, I am perplexed.

No one wants to be obese. The American Medical Association voted on Tuesday of this past week to declare obesity a disease, a move that effectively defines 78 million American adults and 12 million children as having a medical condition requiring treatment. National statistics state that 57% of America’s truck drivers are obese, and I don’t think Prime is any different. So that means 57% of the Prime fleet is suffering from a disease, and the cause of that disease is called Metabolic Syndrome. According to the Center For Disease Control Obesity Cost Calculator which estimates that 38% of Prime’s fleet has a BMI greater than 30 ( a very low estimate in my opinion), the total medical and work loss costs attributable to High BMI is $2,923,000. That’s 83% of the total estimated medical and work loss costs for all drivers. And since the majority of Prime’s fleet are lease operators responsible for paying their own health care insurance, a large percentage of those costs are passed directly to the drivers. So why would anyone want to be diseased and lose money?

So Prime decided to do something about this. First, it hired me, one of its own PSD- trained and successful independent contractor with a sports fitness background and a state-of-the-art metabolic-boosting fitness program designed specifically for long haul truck drivers. And then Prime set it up so that completing Prime’s DHF Basic 13 Week Program costs drivers $0/day. It’s a free benefit offered exclusively at Prime! You put skin in the game to signal Prime that you are serious, and then Prime pays you back for successfully completing the program. So, basically, IT’S FREE! And, you get to keep the equipment!

Now imagine you were diagnosed with another disease – let’s say “cancer” or “diabetes”. Now imagine Prime offered an expensive program with proven results that could significantly help cure you of the disease at no cost to you. . . . A program that could potentially save your life . . . . So why haven’t you enrolled in the DHF program?

So I welcome all serious comments from drivers to help me figure out how to increase participation in the DHF program. Let’s get past the idea that “drivers are too lazy” and “it’s too hard” – neither of which is true. Let’s have a real dialogue about what it will take to get every driver at Prime to enroll in the DHF program whether they are obese or not. If living longer, reducing your risk for 60 medical disorders and 12 cancers, getting off medication, saving money, sleeping better, getting the best equipment and coaching available to drivers for free, and setting the example of healthy living for your family isn’t enough to motivate YOU, what will?

Benefits of the DHF Program:

DHF Top Fifteen Performers:

DHF 13 Week Program Requirements:


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