West Virginia physicians: cardiovascular risk factors, lifestyles and prescribing habits
The West Virginia Medical Journal
R GaultI H Ullrich
Physicians educate their patients by direct teaching and by serving as a role model. Through the use of questionnaires, we evaluated the degree to which physicians in West Virginia participate in these activities. Thirty-five percent of the 2,404 licensed physicians in the state returned completed questionnaires. Although 90% prescribed appropriate diets and recommended exercise for their patients, the physicians who responded were often less likely to follow their own advice. Twenty percent of the male physicians and 13% of the female doctors were obese; 30% had LDL cholesterol levels over 130 mg./dl.; 13% had HDL cholesterol values of less than 35 mg./dl.; and 8% had triglycerides over 250 mg./dl. Participation in regular exercise (30 minutes three times per week) was reported by 48% of the male physicians and 47% of the female physicians. Eight percent of the men were smokers, as were 1.9% of the females. These results suggest that the role model aspect of patient education may need to be improved among some West Virginia physicians. It is an inexpensive method of directing attention to lifestyle in order to decrease preventable disorders such as coronary artery disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
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