Its so common to be advised by a Physician to exercise for good health. But have you ever asked a Physician if he exercises?
Healthcare providers who were physically fit themselves—were more likely to encourage their patients to make regular physical activity a part of a healthy lifestyle, researchers report.
Their findings, based on a literature review of 24 observational and four interventional studies, were presented at EPI|NPAM 2013, the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.
Lead author Isabel Garcia de Quevedo (CDC, Atlanta, GA) found that “being more active [yourself, as a healthcare provider] . . . gives you the tools to give better counseling.”
The researchers identified 28 studies of how physical-activity habits of healthcare providers were related to counseling patients about physical activity. The fitness habits of the studied healthcare providers—physicians, nurses, pharmacists, others, and nursing and medical students—significantly influenced the likelihood that they would take time to counsel patients about fitness.
Physicians who exercised were more likely to counsel about exercise. They were more confident and efficient about this counselling about this health habit than their sedentary counterparts.
Physicians can be positive role models. McCrindle, who does triathlons among other activities, noted that patients “are more likely to view healthy lifestyle advice in a positive manner if the physicians themselves look like they are following their own advice.”
When counseling patients, healthcare providers should share their personal fitness stories, which can help motivate patients and make the physician seem more human. “Patients will react to a personal story . . . rather than [simply being told] “you should do this, and this is how you should do it,” McCrindle noted.
Be active thyself before advising thy patients!