Prime, Inc. Studies the Body Composition and Metabolism of Truck Drivers

Prime, Inc. Studies the Body Composition and Metabolism of Truck Drivers

North America’s premier refrigerated, flatbed and tanker trucking company Prime, Inc. continues to innovate in the field of driver health and fitness. Today, they announced additional results of its yearlong truck driver body composition study.

From April 2014 to March 2015, Prime—using bioelectric impedance technology—measured the weight, body fat, water weight, muscle mass, physique ratings, basal metabolic rate, metabolic age, bone density and visceral fat ratings of 770 drivers. They also recorded the weight and BMI of 2,319 drivers. The results showed that the average weight of both men and women combined is 232 lbs. with a 33.04 BMI and 34% body fat. The drivers also averaged 148 lbs. of muscle, a basal metabolic rate of 2,056 calories, a bone density of 7.5, and a visceral fat rating of 15 (a score of 12 or less is considered normal and healthy.) While 58% of Prime’s fleet is obese, it is 11% below the national average according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

“The combined averages themselves don’t tell us a lot,” says Siphiwe Baleka, Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness Coach and creator of the study. “It’s when you look at the data in more detail that we start to learn a lot.” As an example, Baleka shows that the average BMI of new drivers increases from 32.05 during the first 60 days on the job to 33.44 by the end of the first year. By the end of the third year, it reaches a maximum average of 35.79 while drivers with five or more years of driving had an average BMI of 35.10.
“What’s alarming is that male drivers between the ages of 56 to 60 years had an average BMI of 33.95, the highest of any age group. The average BMI for male drivers 61 to 65 then drops to 31.00. Why? Because at that age, the heaviest drivers are choosing to leave the industry, becoming too sick or unfit to drive or passing away,” says Baleka.

According to some studies, the average life span of long haul drivers is just 61 to 65 years of age. Prime’s body composition study lends some support to that as well as confirming NIOSH‘s own conclusion in the National Survey of US Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury that “working conditions common to long-haul trucking may create significant barriers to certain healthy behaviors; thus, transportation and health professionals should address the unique work environment when developing interventions for long-haul drivers.”

Currently, about 38% of Prime, Inc.’s 6,700 drivers have enrolled in their Driver Health and Fitness program. Baleka uses the body composition data collected to coach those drivers and teach them how to improve their metabolism so that they burn fat at an accelerated rate while driving. Baleka has measured up to an 8% improvement in metabolic efficiency. Because the program has successfully helped drivers lose weight, reduce medication and decrease the incidence of sleep apnea, it has been featured in such magazines as Men’s Health, Sport Illustrated, Huma Resources Executive, and The Atlantic. It was also recently featured in a video segment for Fox Sports.

For more information on Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness programs, visit or contact Siphiwe Baleka at

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