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Determining levels of physical activity in attending physicians, resident and fellow physicians and medical students in the USA


Objective Evidence suggests that the level of physical activity of physicians can be correlated directly with physician counselling patterns about this behaviour. Our objective was to determine if medical students, resident and fellow physicians and attending physicians meet the physical activity guidelines set forth by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Methods A representative cross-sectional web-based survey was conducted in June 2009–January 2010 throughout the USA (N=1949). Using the short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, the authors gathered demographical data and information related to physical activity, the level of training, the number of work hours per week, body mass index (BMI), confidence about counselling about physical activity and frequency with which the physical activity is encouraged to his/her patients.

Results Based on the 1949 respondents, attending physicians (84.8%) and medical students (84%) were more likely than resident (73.2%) and fellow physicians (67.9%) to meet physical activity guidelines.

Conclusion Physicians and medical students engage in more physical activity and tend to have a lower BMI than the general population. Resident and fellow physicians engage in less physical activity than attending physicians and medical students.

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