By Jena Williams

Several Washington trucking companies are currently participating in the SHIFT study. In the picture is Dr. Ryan Olson (principal investigator) and Kevin Bransford (graduate student in exercise physiology and research assistant) standing in front of the “RV of Science.”

SHIFT stands for “Safety & Health Involvement for Truckers, ” and it is focused on total worker health (eating, exercise, sleep, and safety). SHIFT is based at Oregon Health & Science University with funding from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

Since April of 2012, the RV of Science has been visiting trucking terminals on the I-5 corridor to enroll drivers. This study, which is projected to be the largest of its kind in U.S. history, plans to enroll 20 trucking terminals; 10 of those terminals will be enrolled by the end of 2012.

The main purpose of this five-year study is to learn how drivers manage their health and body weight over time. The project will also discover how stress and social support impact driver body weight and health.

So what’s in it for drivers?  At participating companies, each driver who volunteers will receive three free health assessments over an 18-month period.

Drivers are also paid for their time, get a SHIFT “swag bag,” and are entered into lottery drawings.  Based on random selection, some drivers also participate in a supplemental weight-loss competition and health-promotion program.

For more information and for public links to driver-health resources, please visit To participate in the SHIFT study, companies must operate at least two terminals with 50-100 drivers each.

While the majority of terminals have already been selected for the study, interested company leaders may contact Dr. Olson directly to discuss study requirements and opportunities at