Why Physicians are Fat: Stress, Boredom and Food at Work Predict Physician Overweight and Obesity, According to New Research Study
Santa Barbara, CA (PRWEB) October 17, 2005
Obesity in U.S. physicians may be predictable according to a new CHEF Clinic research study in the November 2005 Special issue of Nutrition and Food Science (35(5): 315–319).
John La Puma, M.D. of the Santa Barbara Institute for Medical Nutrition and Healthy Weight and colleagues studied self-reported data from 394 practicing physicians about their eating habits.
In the most detailed study to date of physician eating, the researchers found that “stress at home” followed by “stress at work” best predicted physician overweight, as calculated by Body Mass Index or BMI (p=.001). Other important predictors were “often eating when feeling lonely or bored” and using food as a reward. Physicians who ate food provided at work were more likely to be overweight than those who did not.
Stress “goes with the territory” for most physicians, Dr. La Puma commented, but not how to deal with it. “It’s easy for docs to overeat. Food at work is everywhere. It isn’t hard to find a free lunch—what’s hard to find is a healthful lunch. Unless you make your own.” Dr. La Puma also noted the study’s findings that physicians who were likely to overeat while out socially or while drinking alcohol were no more likely to be overweight than those who did not.
The results were adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, and gender. Forty-four percent (172) of physicians were overweight, including 8 percent (31) obese. Overweight physicians were slightly older (46 vs. 44 years, p = 0.02), and twice as likely to be male (50% of males vs. 26% of females, p = 0.002).
Previous studies show that patients are more likely to follow advice from healthy weight rather than overweight physicians. Because physicians appear susceptible to over-eating, effective stress-management may help doctors help themselves.
About the Santa Barbara Institute
The Institute offers practical, step-by-step programs for obesity, and aims to create enduring success stories for people who have been told they were failures. Dr. John La Puma, M.D. leads the Institute, and taught the first medical school cooking and nutrition course in 2003, at SUNY. He also co-authored the New York Times best-seller RealAge Diet: Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat (HarperCollins, 2001) with Dr. Michael Roizen.
Contact: Barbara Henry
Santa Barbara Institute for Medical Nutrition and Healthy Weight
Article URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/00346650510625502
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