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Would You Leave Your Doctor If They Had Unhealthy Habits?

Would You See an Unhealthy Doctor?

Whenever I go to the hospital I see a group of doctors and nurses huddled together on the sidewalk smoking. A co-worker recently told me how she was given diet advice from a physician who was visibly overweight. In college I worked at a deli and I can still remember the lunch order of a doctor who came in four times a week — french fries, a Coke, and a pastrami Reuben.

It seems logical that a doctor should be a model of health, but the message some physicians are sending is, "Do as I say, not as I do."

Doctors often work long hours in stressful environments. Top that off with being surrounded by vending machines full of junk food and bad coffee, and you have the beginnings of an unhealthy recipe.

Should doctors be forgiven, then, for picking up a few bad habits? Is it what's "up there" that counts the most? Would you feel comfortable taking advice from a doctor who seems unhealthy?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
DivaDivine DivaDivine 7 years
Honestly, I don't look to my doctor for health advice. If I want nutrition advice, I'll go to a dietitian. Doctors are paid to pump prescriptions and surgery on their folks. They don't care about your health or theirs.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Doctors are human too. I don't mind that my doctor has a few bad habits because we all have our vices. I think certain habits would really bug me though...I could never see a doc who smokes (seriously, it's the one bad habit that leads to SO MANY health problems) or is very overweight. If she drinks too much coffee or doesn't floss every day, that's understandable.
biarose biarose 7 years
What I hate is when obese doctors and nurses try to treat anorexia patients. Way to reinforce their fear of food.
sloane220 sloane220 7 years
i'm currently dating a doctor who chain smokes, drinks like a fish, and eats the fattiest foods alive. somehow it all this unhealthy activity doesn't completely reflect on her physically so her patients are none the wiser, but i told her that i find it hypocritcal that someone giving medical advice completely contradicts themselves in their personal life. i guess the bottom line is doctors are human, and just because they have knowledge of the right things to do doesn't mean they apply them to their personal life. i don't really know if that means you should completely disregard their medical advice.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
Personally, no. My longtime doctor is in good shape. He seems to think we're both in the same shape (but I think I'm arguably in a little better shape than him ;).
Arike Arike 7 years
My doctor practices what he preaches and I respect him so much for it. He talks about how he allows himself to indulge in just one piece of pumpkin pie on thanksgiving! LOL The nurse practitioner at the same practice though is quite overweight, maybe even borderline obese, and I can't help but sort of think about this. I also noticed that others that work in the office are overweight. I want to become a personal trainer someday but I feel like I need to get myself in optimum shape first so that I can be a great example to my future clients. There is an overweight trainer at the gym I go to and I don't think he really cares about the extra pudge. Needless to say, I am not interested in working out with him. Actions speak louder than words!
kscincotta kscincotta 7 years
My roommate in college is a doctor and she felt like such a hypocrite once she started seeing patients. She used that as motivation to take her own advice and started working out regularly and eating better. She lost almost 20 pounds!
jelibeann jelibeann 7 years
I pretty much agree with the previous posters - we all have stressful jobs that lead us to make decisions that we know aren't the best for us at times. That being said, I respect my doctor and trust her opinions - she appears to handle her own stress well (and has advised me on my own) and is in great shape after four children. I don't think I would be as trusting of a doctor that was in worse condition than I going to a fitness class where the instructor is in worse shape than I am.
darc5204 darc5204 7 years
I certainly don't expect perfection, and a doctor's faults don't necessarily mean their professional ability isn't sound. That said, I think it's a bit disappointing when doctors, who should know the medical realities, have really bad habits like smoking or very excessive weight. It's really not a hopeful sign for educating people toward healthy lifestyles. They also risk making the advice they give seem less important and not worth following.
cg130 cg130 7 years
They don't have to be a multiple marathon-runner/super fitness champ, we're all human. However, I wouldn't see a doctor who smoked or was noticeably overweight, just because I feel they should practice what they preach. Also, smokers reek, I wouldn't be able to breathe in a little room with one of them.
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