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Physician variation in perceived barriers to personal health

Authors Kosteva, Salata, Mahadevan, Howe, Weber, Rubenfire M, Jackson E

Received 30 June 2011

Accepted for publication 19 August 2011

Published 13 January 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 53—57


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Adam RB Kosteva1, Brian M Salata1, Sangeetha Mahadevan Krishnan2, Michael Howe3, Alissa Weber3, Melvyn Rubenfire2,3, Elizabeth A Jackson2,3
1Michigan Cardiovascular Research and Reporting Program, 2Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, 3Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Objective: Physicians’ personal health habits are associated with their counseling habits regarding physical activity. We sought to examine physicians’ own barriers to a healthy lifestyle by level of training and gender.
Methods: Physicians at a major teaching hospital were surveyed regarding their lifestyle habits and barriers to healthy habits. The frequency of reported barriers was examined by years in practice (trainees vs staff physicians) and gender.
Results: 183 total responses were received. Over 20% of respondents were overweight. Work schedule was cited as the greatest barrier to regular exercise in 70.5% of respondents. Trainees were more likely to cite time constraints or cost as a barrier to a healthy diet compared to staff physicians. Staff physicians were more likely to report the time to prepare healthy foods as a barrier. For both trainees and staff physicians, time was a barrier to regular exercise. For trainees work schedule was a barrier, while both work schedule and family commitments were top barriers cited by staff physicians. Women were more likely to report family commitments as a barrier than men. Respondents suggested healthier options in vending machines and the hospital cafeteria, healthy recipes, and time and/or facilities for exercise at work as options to help overcome these barriers.
Conclusion: Work schedules and family commitments are frequently reported by providers as barriers to healthy lifestyle. Efforts to reduce such barriers may lead to improved health habits among providers.

Keywords: diet, exercise, counseling, prevention, gender, barriers, health

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