Friday, October 28, 2011

DOCTORS, PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH AND YOUR SERMONS WILL GO FURTHER.

I reead this medical posting with great interest and humour. Dr Brian McCrindle of The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, gave a talk at the recently concluded Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011 at Vancouver, on " Physicians take a good look at yourself". I felt that it was very appropriate. Not often do we look at ourselves and see the impact that it may have on patients whom we are counselling.
In preparing his talk, he took a look at the wellknown Physician Health Study and found that 38% of physicians there had BMI >25 and 6% had BMI >30. Similarly, in the Nurses Health Study, 23% of nurses had BMI >25 and 5% had BMI >32. He also noted that in a Canadian Physician survey, 37% had BMI 25-30 and 8% had BMI >30.
He also found that, physicians who are themselves overweight tend not to stress healthy cardiac lifestyle in their counselling of patients, or at least only do it very casually. Those who are practising what they preach, tend to spend more time and seriously counsel their patients on healthy lifestyle, including diet, and exercise.
He also surveyed some hospitals in USA and Canada, and found that 89% of US and Canadain hospitals, had fast food joins in the hospital premises, with vending machines for carbonated drinks and unhealthy snacks all along their corridors leading to the casualty department, and outpatient clinics. We are surely sending the wrong message.
Coming nearly back home, we see the same. I have not done a survey myself, but I must say that the incidence of obesity among Malaysian physicians must be in the region of 30-40%. I also notice that quite a few physicians still smoke although they tell their patients not to smoke. This is what many patients have told me, with a glee, after they consulted that physician. Going to many local hospitals in my travels, I also see snack vending machines and drink vending machines ( I dare say ), in all the major hospitals. It sometimes look like a small supermarket corridor for instant snacks and drinks. This is true in private and also public hospitals. I suppose the excuse is that patients and visitors sometimes need a drink and some quickie food, and so we cater for them, and of course, we also make some rental money.
How then can we cut down obesity and other chronic lifestyle diseases as expressed by the Ministry of Health?
Doctors, please practice what you preach so that your patients can take you seriously, and Minister of Health, also practise what you say, so that we can reduce our health expenditure on chronic lifestyle diseases.

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