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A Structured Health Intervention For Truckers - The SHIFT Study

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Reference: SSEHS/SAC

UK/EU Fee band: TBC

International Fee band: £21,100

Full Time Duration: 3 years

Part Time Duration: 6 years

Preferred start date: 1 April 2020 (note that there are four available start dates: 1st January, 1st April, 1st July and 1st October)

Long-distance heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers’ working environment provides limited opportunities for a healthy lifestyle and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours are extremely prevalent in this occupational group. As a consequence, HGV drivers exhibit higher than nationally representative rates of obesity, and obesity-related co-morbidities, and have a significantly reduced life expectancy in comparison to other occupational groups. They represent an under-served, high-risk population urgently needing assistance to prevent an explosion of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The SHIFT programme is a multi-component, theory-driven, health behaviour intervention designed to promote positive changes in physical activity (PA), diet, and sitting in HGV drivers. A study is currently ongoing evaluating the effectiveness of the SHIFT programme using a cluster randomised controlled trial design. An opportunity exists for a self-funded PhD student to work alongside a team of researchers involved in this project.

The trial is involving 336 HGV drivers recruited from our partner company (DHL). The 6-month SHIFT intervention includes a group-based 6-hour education session, work-site champion support, and equipment provision (a Fitbit and resistance bands/balls to facilitate a ‘cab workout’). Objectively measured total daily PA (steps/day), is the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes include: objectively measured light PA and moderate-vigorous PA, sitting time, sleep duration, markers of adiposity, blood pressure, capillary blood markers (HbA1c, LDL-HDL-cholesterol), stress reactivity and sickness absence. Self-report questionnaires will examine fruit and vegetable intake and psychosocial outcomes. All measures will be conducted at baseline, 6 and 12-months. The PhD student can choose which outcomes to focus on for their thesis.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Human Biology, Sport and Exercise Science, Public Health, Occupational Medicine, Psychology or a related subject.

A relevant Master's degree and / or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Sport and Exercise Science, Public Health, Occupational Medicine, Psychology, Epidemiology, or a related discipline.

How to apply

All applications should be made online:

Under programme name, please select ‘Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences’. Please quote reference SSEHS/SAC.

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