Is Britain’s van community accelerating its health issues?

Not enough males within the UK’s van community are regularly checking in with the doctor, our latest Business Barometer report reveals. Is this a window into the general attitudes of British men? And could we be doing more to look after ourselves?

A nation with a lack of drive for its health

Recent research conducted by Mercedes-Benz Vans shows that almost a quarter (23%) of males within the UK’s van community admit they haven’t been to the doctors at all in the past year. And four in 10 (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 to visit the doctor, with 28% acknowledging that they haven’t been checked over in the last year, compared to just 11% in Great 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?

Healthy eating is taking a back seat too....

Busy schedules, working long hours and regularly being away from home could be contributing to a lack of self-care within the van community, 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. Furthermore, drivers said they don’t have the time to find healthier outlets and options (33%) but even then they were too expensive (41%) and it was much simpler to just grab something unhealthy (37%).

Healthy food options at service stations were ranked as poor or very 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.

It’s time to check up on ourselves

With the recent and continued spotlight on men’s mental health and physical wellbeing, we’re urging hardworking drivers, business owners and fleet operators to focus on themselves. 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 more self-care is taken.”

He continued: “We are 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 shine a light on why the nation’s van community needs more support to visit their doctor regularly and eat more healthily.

And Mercedes-Benz Vans has 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.”