Doctors: fighting fit or couch potatoes
- Kunal Gupta ( )
- Lampson Fan ( )
- Published Online First 2 December 2008
Objective: To evaluate how Doctors compared to the UK average, in terms of Department-of-Health recommended thirty-minutes of moderate-exercise, at least five times-per-week. Further hypotheses tested include whether those with on-site gym facilities are more likely to meet the recommendations, than those without, and whether those meeting DOH-recommendations at medical school, continue as Doctors.
Design: Each candidate answered 21 questions including demographics, exercise-habits and general-health. Data were analysed statistically using Student's t-test, Fisher's, McNemara's test.
Setting: Bedford Hospital, West Middlesex University Hospital.
Participants: 61 foundation and specialty trainees were randomly recruited.
Interventions: Independent variable was the presence of exercise facilities.
Main outcome measures: The number of participants currently meeting DOH-recommendations. We recorded the reason each participant gave, if they did not do so.
Results: 32 female, 29 male, median BMI 23.5, 6% smokers; 11% ex-smokers, ~10% drank excess alcohol, (n=61). Only 21% met DOH-exercise-recommendations, significantly lower than national average (p<0.001). Of the 79% who did not, 58% blamed no time, 29% lacked motivation and 13% no facilities. Conversely, more doctors without on-site gym facilities met DOH-recommendations, than those with (p<0.05). 64% met DOH-exercise-recommendations as medical-students, of whom, only 23% do now (p<0.0001).
Conclusion: The Doctors in this study exercise less than average. However, those with on-site facilities did not meet DOH-recommendations more than those without. Few of those who met the DOH recommendations as medical students, continued as Doctors. This is especially worrying. The combination of a heavy work-load, lack of time and poor motivation contributes to the lack of exercise.