Is physical activity of medical personnel a role model for their patients
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Warsaw School of Economics, Warsaw, Poland
Department-Centre of Monitoring and Analyses of Population Health, National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
Jozef Pilsudski University of Physical Education, Warsaw, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2012;19(4):707-710
Introduction and objective:
Sedentary lifestyle and other health behaviors such as smoking or alcohol consumption are well documented risk factors of several diseases. Numerous works by doctors and other healthcare professionals have been dedicated to the study of smoking and alcohol consumption. In contrast, the prevalence of physical activity of doctors or other medical personnel, who are well positioned to provide physical activity counseling to patients, remains almost unknown. Most studies were focused on male physicians and used a small total sample from one hospital. To study the situation in Warsaw, data on a random sample of medical personnel was analyzed in order to determine the prevalence of sport (both competitive and non-competitive leisure sport activity) and physical activity.

Material and Methods:
The participants were a random sample of Warsaw medical doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel (764 persons). Data was collected face-to-face in November 2008 by well trained interviewers. The respondents were asked about their participation in competitive sport or non-competitive leisure sport activities during the previous year. The short, last seven days, Polish version of International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was used for the assessment of physical activity level.

In the whole sample, the prevalence in competitive sport was low but significantly higher among men, but there were no significant differences between genders in division for different professional groups. Men more often took part in non-competitive leisure sport activities. A high level of physical activity was a rare characteristic for the majority of studied men and women (10.9 and 13.5%, respectively). A low level of physical activity was dominant among men and women (44.0 and 49.6% respectively). Independent risk factors of low physical activity were: not participating in sport or leisure sport activities (OR [95% CI] 3.70; 1.64-8.33 and 2.08; 1.37-.23 for men and women, respectively), being employed in an Out-patient Clinic (OR 2.86; 1.54-5.28 and 2.03; 1.42-2.90), overweight (only for men – OR 1.91; 1.10-3.31), and working as a doctor (for both men and women – 1.43; 1.05-1.94).

All kinds of healthcare workers in Warsaw reported low physical activity, which could influence their physical activity counseling.

This is work was supported by the Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Warsaw (Grant No. DS – 86), and the Provost Fund of the Warsaw School of Economics.
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