Health-related behaviours and perceptions among physicians: Results from a cross-sectional study in Israel

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Abstract

Objectives Physicians' demanding work conditions may reduce the time and energy required for maintaining healthy lifestyles. This study examined health-related behaviours, perceived health status and emotional stress among physicians, and analysed the effects of personal and work characteristics on these endpoints. Design A cross-sectional study using a digital questionnaire. Setting and participants All 25 590 physicians who were members of the Israeli Medical Association in 2015 were invited to participate by email. Of 14 694 who opened the e-mail, 4832 (32.9%) responded. Outcome measures Survey topics included physical activity (PA), nutrition and eating habits, smoking, sleep, perceived health status and emotional stress, body mass index (BMI) and contact with a regular physician, as well as personal and work characteristics. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed. Results Of the 4832 respondents, 21% reported poor or fair health status, 36% felt considerable emotional stress, 57% were overweight or obese (according to BMI≥25 kg/m 2), 71% did not meet the recommended PA level, 79% did not meet a composite measure of healthy nutrition, 8% were current smokers, 25% slept 5 hours or less and 57% did not have a regular physician. Residents and hospital physicians reported significantly less healthy lifestyles, lower perceived health status and higher stress levels, compared with senior and community physicians. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that being female (OR=0.74, 95% CI=0.64 to 0.85), younger (0.69, 0.64 to 0.74), having poor nutrition (0.66, 0.55 to 0.78), not meeting PA targets (0.68, 0.57 to 0.82), inadequate sleep (0.54, 0.40 to 0.56) and perceived poor health status (0.48, 0.40 to 0.56) were significantly associated with high stress levels (p<0.001). Conclusions The unfavourable health behaviours reported among Israeli physicians may have negative effects on their health and well-being. An intervention program to help physicians to adopt a healthier lifestyle is urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere031353
JournalBMJ Open
Volume9
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • health perception
  • health promoting behaviors
  • physicians, healthy lifestyle
  • stress

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