How healthy are health professionals really? 5 key findings

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Physicians, nurses and other health professionals set an example for patients to follow in their own lifestyle choices. However, according to a new study, healthcare professionals may not always provide a picture of good health, according to Reuters.

"We aren't just docs, we are still also women and men, and are subject to the same environmental and social influences as are others," Erica Frank, MD, a researcher at University of British Columbia in Canada, who was not part of the study, told Reuters by email. "We tend to preach to patients what we practice ourselves — so we should be thoughtful about that and not compromise patient care because we can't square it with our behavior."

Researchers used data from surveys of 150,000 people from 2002 to 2013, 3 percent of which were healthcare professionals, including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, therapists, dentists, pharmacists and chiropractors, according to the report.

Here are five key findings on healthcare professionals health, as presented by Reuters.

1. Rates of disease were lower among healthcare workers than the general population surveyed, but still common.

2. Specifically, healthcare workers had lower average rates of obesity diabetes and hypertension compared to the rest of the population, but growth was the same in both groups, according to the report.

3. Those working in the health field were also more likely to exercise and less likely to smoke, according to the report.

4. Health professionals were more likely than the general population to report moderate to heavy alcohol consumption.

5. Because the growth in disease burden of healthcare professionals rose at similar rates to the general population, the authors believe this suggests there may be a limit to the efficacy of public health education, according to the report.


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