From nurses and nutritionists, to dietitians and dental assistants, health care workers help the rest of us stay healthy. But how are health care employees caring for themselves?
Not much better than the rest of us, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Regardless of their lifestyle choices, those in the health care field serve as role models. Fortunately, they’re more likely to exhibit basic healthy behaviors, compared to non-health care workers. But on the vast majority of other marks, health care workers did not fare better than others. There was no significant difference between the groups on:
· Having a recent dental visit
· Being overweight or obese
· Drinking and driving
· Failing to wear a seatbelt
· Using tobacco products
So, what’s up with these results? A few assumptions:
Time is a factor. Nurses, doctors, and other health care workers endure long shifts with unusual hours. They know the healthy steps they should take, but life often gets in the way.
Stress plays a role. Health care workers often face high-stress situations, which can negatively impact health and increase the likelihood of bad behaviors like drinking and smoking.
Specialty professions create niches. Interestingly, a study comparing nursing and dental students found that the dental students were more likely to seek care before experiencing dental pain and showed better attitudes and behavior for dental health compared to nursing students.
Though more research is necessary, we do know that understanding the right behaviors for our health is only part of the battle. Creating a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, regardless of profession.