Doctors Likely to Preach What They Practice

WEDNESDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors with good health habits are more likely to advise patients to make healthy changes to their lifestyle, a new study finds.

Researchers surveyed 1,000 U.S. doctors about their lifestyles and whether they recommend national guideline lifestyle modifications -- such as eating a healthy diet, limiting sodium intake, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising -- to patients with high blood pressure.

The study authors, led by Dr. Olivia Hung of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that 4 percent of the doctors smoked at least once a week, nearly 39 percent ate the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and about 27 percent exercised five or more days a week.

Sixty-six percent of the doctors made all five lifestyle recommendations to patients with high blood pressure. Doctors who didn't smoke and who exercised at least once a week were about twice as likely to recommend the five healthy habits to their patients, the investigators found.

The study was slated for presentation Wednesday at an American Heart Association meeting in San Diego.

Research and data presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers healthy living tips.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, March 14, 2012

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