Study: Healthcare workers not making healthy choices

Healthy lifestyle choices aren’t easy to come by, Jena says.
Healthy lifestyle choices aren’t easy to come by, Jena says.

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers don't always practice what they preach when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, a new study suggests.

Data from healthcare personnel, including nurses, pharmacists and therapists, was collected from 2002 to 2013 as part of the National Health Interview Survey. 

Results showed that rates of diseases like obesity, diabetes and hypertension were generally lower among healthcare workers but were still common and increased at a rate similar to that of the general population.

The study also found healthcare personnel were more likely to report moderate to heavy alcohol consumption. 

Researchers suggest these results show how the same environmental and societal factors that contribute to the rise of chronic diseases in people in non-healthcare professions impact those in the industry, despite their health knowledge.

Some experts suggest the study didn't take into account the varying activity levels and shift work of the specific healthcare professions, Reuters reported. 

“The take-home message for patients is that healthy lifestyle choices and good health are important, but aren't easy to come by,” lead researcher Anupam Jena, M.D., Ph.D, of Harvard Medical School told Reuters

The study appeared in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.