Is Britain’s van community accelerating its health issues?
Recent research conducted by Mercedes-Benz Vans shows that almost a quarter (23%) of males in the UK’s van community admit they haven’t been to the doctors at all in the past year. And four in ten (40%) have only been to the doctors once, if at all, in the past 12 months.
Members of the van community in Wales are even less likely, with 28% acknowledging that they haven’t been checked over in the last year, compared to just 11% in Greater London. This begs the question in a predominantly male industry, why is the stereotypical notion of men ignoring their health still so prevalent despite numerous attempts to rectify it?
Busy schedules, working long hours and regularly being away from home could be contributing, with 60% also acknowledging that their lunches are not the healthiest they could be.
Professional drivers overwhelmingly (95%) said there is a distinct lack of healthy eating options at service stations.
Healthy food options at service stations were ranked as poor by 28%, with over a third (34%) rating them as average. Finally, 61% confess that they don’t eat fruit or veg for their lunch every day, and two thirds have to drive over 5km to try and find a healthier lunch option.
Steve Bridge, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd, said: “As an industry, the van sector is spent focusing on others, but we think it’s time that moreself-care is taken.”
He added: “We're therefore asking all van owners, operators and drivers to seriously consider speaking to their doctor or their local pharmacy about that little niggle they’ve been ignoring, or the persistent symptoms that have been brushed off, or the secret concerns around stress or anxiety levels; we have to take care of ourselves so that we can continue to take care of British businesses.”
Mercedes-Benz Vans is therefore working with Jonathan Prince MBE, Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Foundation, to understand why the nation’s van community needs more support to visit their doctor regularly and eat more healthily.
They've also teamed up with ex-professional footballer, Alan Stubbs, who only found out about his testicular cancer following a routine health check: “I was really shocked by some of the statistics from Mercedes-Benz Vans’ research, especially the fact that nearly a quarter of male van drivers admitted they haven’t been to the doctors at all in the past year.”
He added: “It is so important to prioritise health, especially for men who often ignore niggling problems or hope that they might get better on their own... I might not be here today if it wasn’t for the health checks I had during my time at Celtic – they literally saved my life. My message to men across the country is that if you think something isn’t quite right, go and get it checked.”