Docs Take Healthy Oath So Patients Stay Well

Research shows that physicians who eat poorly or don’t exercise may be less likely to encourage healthy habits in their patients. With six out of 10 doctors and nurses overweight or obese, many doctors might be affecting not only their own health, but their their patients’ well-being, too.

To help set better habits, two enterprising medical students from Johns Hopkins began a campaign called The Patient Promise, according to Health care professionals (doctors, nurses, nutritionists, et cetera) pledge to follow “Hippocrates not hypocrisy,” publicly committing to living a healthy lifestyle. Participants check off statements like “I will engage in regular physical activity,” “I will consume a balanced and nutritious diet,” “I will diminish personal stressors and look after my mental well-being,” and “I will encourage my patient to adopt these healthy lifestyle behaviors.”

Some argue the Patient Promise is Pollyanna-idealistic, but as a health editor I think it’s great. Even if most of the current signatures are from today’s medical students, in a few years’ time we’ll have a whole new generation of doctors inspired to encourage preventive health tactics among their patients. Ask your doctors if they are planning to sign on—for their health and yours.

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