November 23, 1984

Do Physicians Preach What They Practice?A Study of Physicians' Health Habits and Counseling Practices

Author Affiliations

From The Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif (Drs Wells and Ware); and the Neuropsychiatric Institute (Dr Wells) and the Department of Medicine (Dr Lewis), School of Medicine, and the School of Public Health (Dr Leake), UCLA, Los Angeles.

JAMA. 1984;252(20):2846-2848. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350200032016

We examined the relation of physicians' clinical specialty, personal health habits, and health-related beliefs to their practices in counseling about smoking, weight, exercise, and alcohol. We surveyed a random sample of members of a county medical society in selected specialties. Physicians with better personal health habits and more positive attitudes toward counseling counsel a broader range of patients and counsel more aggressively. Surgeons counsel less than nonsurgeons, even after controlling for differences in health-related attitudes and personal habits.

(JAMA 1984;252:2846-2848)