Physician wellness under assault during residency

LETTER — Posted Feb. 23, 2004

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Regarding "Physician health and wellness: An ethical imperative" (Editorial, Jan. 26):

I read with interest the recent editorial on physician health and wellness, an important area that warrants our attention. During the spring of 2003, my last year of residency, I conducted a survey of my colleagues and their health behaviors. Study results demonstrated that the work hours of the residents seriously limited their ability to pursue healthy lifestyles.

Among the findings, only 25% of respondents regularly met American Heart Assn. guidelines for physical activity. Thirty percent of respondents had been treated for depression in the last year, and one other respondent added in the comments section that she was depressed but did not have time to address the issue. Other respondents commented on the difficulty of finding time to address personal health care issues, prepare healthy meals or engage in stress relief activities.

As medical professionals, we must ask ourselves what kind of message are we sending to the general population if we do not make healthy lifestyles a priority.

Aldebra Schroll, MD, Chico, Calif.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/02/23/edlt0223.htm.

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