During office visits, physicians may recommend their patients eat a healthy diet or exercise more often. They also advise at-risk patients to quit unhealthy activities such as smoking or drinking. This is great advice, but it should also be followed by the physicians themselves. Often, the doctor is in a "do as I say, not as I do" mindset and this does not set a good example for the patients. This is an issue that was recently covered by The Atlantic in a June 12th article.
Patients look to their physicians as role models in terms of health. If they see that their doctor is overweight, smoking, or taking part in other unhealthy activities, how likely will it be that the patient will take their advice? A change in attitude must take place in order to put the healthcare industry back on track. Physicians must commit themselves to following the same advice they're giving.
can't make changes in our own lives, how can we expect patients to do the same?
So much of health care spending and disease burden in society is due to things
that could largely be prevented by stopping smoking, losing weight, exercising
30 minutes a day, and reducing stress." ~ Shiv Gaglani, Medical Student
An initial step has begin through The Patient Promise, a campaign begun by two John Hopkins medical students. They seek physicians who are willing to sign and make the commitment to follow the same healthy lifestyle choices they expect of their patients. Signatures are publicly known so that patients can check to see if their physician is on board and, if not, ask them to sign up. The team effort of medicine requires that physicians be just as committed to their own health as they are the health of their patients. Together, a positive change can take place.