SHIFT Produces Significant and Medically Meaningful Weight Loss
In a pilot study (2009) SHIFT produced an average weight loss of -7.8 lb and over 30% of drivers reported keeping the weight off or losing more weight 30 months later (2013).
In the SHIFT randomized controlled trial (2016, funded by NHLBI) the program produced significant increases in fruit and vegetable consumption and exercise, and a trend in improved sleep (+15min/night for those in the programs). The between groups difference in body weight was -7.3 lb (a reduction of one full unit of Body Mass Index).
This amount of weight loss:
- Reduces the risk of developing hypertension and diabetes
- Predicts $200+ savings in yearly spending on health care
How does this compare to other programs?
SHIFT is one of two programs for truck drivers to be established as effective with a randomized controlled design. The other effective effort is the LIFE program, evaluated with truck and bus drivers in Finland (2015).
In fact, in addition to the SHIFT pilot study and randomized trial there are only six other peer-reviewed studies of body weight programs for truck drivers, and of these other six programs only two (besides the SHIFT studies) reported a mean intervention effect of -6.6 lbs or better.
There are simply too few studies to establish best practices in helping truck drivers manage their health and lose weight, but the few more effective programs (including the SHIFT program) involved one or more of the following tactics:
- Training/content tailored for commercial drivers
- Behavioral or body weight self-monitoring
- Evidence-based health coaching
- Social accountability
SHIFT Scientific and Outreach Impacts
Our ultimate aim is to impact trucking and industry practices and programs so that fewer drivers suffer from excess body weight and its associated health and safety hazards. We produce this impact through scientific papers and presentation, and outreach to trucking industry leaders and drivers.
SHIFT is an award-winning line of research - the original pilot study placed 1st in the Best Practices Intervention Evaluation competition at the International Work, Stress, and Health conference (2009). The research team has published five impactful peer-reviewed papers (three additional papers in progress) and made numerous scientific and outreach presentations, including an invited address at the National Academy of Sciences (2015). Dr. Olson regularly presents at trucking industry conferences and provides interviews for trucking trade magazines, including the 2016 edition of Transport Topics Top 100 carriers' edition. Click here for a list of all research program publications and presentations.
For more detail, you can download the SHIFT randomized trial results paper here (open public access).
Olson, R., Wipfli, B., Thompson, S. V., Elliot, D. L., Anger, W. K., Bodner, T., & Perrin, N. A. (2016). Weight control intervention for truck drivers: The SHIFT randomized controlled trial, United States. American Journal of Public Health, 106 (9), 1698-1706.