Student JAMA
February 4, 2004

Physician Health and Patient Care

JAMA. 2004;291(5):637. doi:10.1001/jama.291.5.637

Current data suggest that as a group, physicians have healthier lifestyles and lower mortality rates than the general public. Furthermore, there is evidence that individual differences in personal health practices among physicians may have consequences for patients. Williams et al1 conducted the first substantive study of physician mortality and found that graduates from 3 Harvard Medical School classes, at all points assessed by the authors, had lower cumulative mortality than did other US white men. A study of nearly 4 million US men from the National Occupational Mortality Surveillance 1984-1995 database found that male physicians lived longer (average age at death, 73 years) than did lawyers (72 years), all professionals (71 years), and men in the general population (70 years).2

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