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Doctors: fighting fit or couch potatoes
  1. Kunal Gupta (dr.k.gupta{at}
  1. NHS, United Kingdom
    1. Lampson Fan ({at}
    1. NHS, United Kingdom


      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.

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