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Health-related behaviours and perceptions among physicians: results from a cross-sectional study in Israel
  1. Rachel Wilf Miron1,
  2. Lilach Malatskey2,
  3. Laura J Rosen1
  1. 1 Department of Health Promotion, School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
  2. 2 Public Health Department, Health Sciences Faculty, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er-Sheva, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rachel Wilf Miron; r.w.miron{at}


Objectives Physicians’ demanding work conditions may reduce the time and energy required for maintaining healthy lifestyles. This study examined health-related behaviours, perceived health status and emotional stress among physicians, and analysed the effects of personal and work characteristics on these endpoints.

Design A cross-sectional study using a digital questionnaire.

Setting and participants All 25 590 physicians who were members of the Israeli Medical Association in 2015 were invited to participate by email. Of 14 694 who opened the e-mail, 4832 (32.9%) responded.

Outcome measures Survey topics included physical activity (PA), nutrition and eating habits, smoking, sleep, perceived health status and emotional stress, body mass index (BMI) and contact with a regular physician, as well as personal and work characteristics. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.

Results Of the 4832 respondents, 21% reported poor or fair health status, 36% felt considerable emotional stress, 57% were overweight or obese (according to BMI≥25 kg/m2), 71% did not meet the recommended PA level, 79% did not meet a composite measure of healthy nutrition, 8% were current smokers, 25% slept 5 hours or less and 57% did not have a regular physician. Residents and hospital physicians reported significantly less healthy lifestyles, lower perceived health status and higher stress levels, compared with senior and community physicians. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that being female (OR=0.74, 95% CI=0.64 to 0.85), younger (0.69, 0.64 to 0.74), having poor nutrition (0.66, 0.55 to 0.78), not meeting PA targets (0.68, 0.57 to 0.82), inadequate sleep (0.54, 0.40 to 0.56) and perceived poor health status (0.48, 0.40 to 0.56) were significantly associated with high stress levels (p<0.001).

Conclusions The unfavourable health behaviours reported among Israeli physicians may have negative effects on their health and well-being. An intervention program to help physicians to adopt a healthier lifestyle is urgently needed.

  • physicians, healthy lifestyle
  • health promoting behaviors
  • stress
  • health perception

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors RWM led all the stages of the research, from conception to design, interpretation of the data and drafting of all article components. LM made a substantial contribution to the design and the interpretation of the data, and critically revised the article manuscripts. LJR made a substantial contribution to the design of the study and the interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The survey protocol was reviewed and approved by the Tel Aviv University Institutional Review Board (approval no. 13381298).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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