5 things to know about chronic disease & healthy lifestyle behaviors among clinicians

It's easy to assume healthcare professionals make healthier lifestyle choices and have better health outcomes than others because of their greater health literacy, but little is actually known about their health compared to those of the overall population.

In a recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers analyzed how trends in obesity, diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease prevalence as well as several health behaviors (smoking, alcohol use and exercise) compared between healthcare professionals and the general U.S. population from 2002 to 2013. They used data from the National Health Interview Survey.

The study found:

1. Rates of obesity, diabetes and hypertension were lower among healthcare professionals compared with the overall population, but chronic disease was still common among both and increased over time at similar rates.

2. The prevalence of obesity was lower among healthcare professionals, but increased similarly from 2002 to 2013, from 20.5 percent 22.1 percent, compared to those with other occupations (28.4 percent to 31.7 percent).

3. Diabetes prevalence was also somewhat lower among clinicians, but increased between 2005 and 2013 at roughly the same rate (from 7.4 percent to 8.6 percent among healthcare professionals compared to an increase from 8.7 percent to 9.9 percent among other professionals). Similar patterns were noted in hypertension as well.

4. One area that improved among healthcare professionals while it worsened for the general population was coronary artery disease prevalence.

5. Although healthcare professionals reported better health behaviors than others in smoking and physical activity, the same was not true of moderate to heavy alcohol use.



More articles on physician issues:
5-step advice for MDs saddled with medical school debt
Stereotype threat disproportionately affects young female surgeons
Are work-hour limits good for patients and physicians? 9 things to know

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