Health and Wellness Behaviors of Practicing Physical Therapists

Purpose/Hypothesis : Studies have shown that physicians who have healthy personal habits are more likely to encourage patients to adopt related habits. Additionally, research has shown that patients are more inclined to change their behaviors when their health care provider is viewed as a credible role model. To date, there is limited research on the health and wellness behaviors of physical therapists. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the health and wellness behaviors of practicing physical therapists and their beliefs about being role models for patients.Number of Subjects : Subjects included 353 practicing physical therapists in the United States.Materials/Methods : An email invitation to participate in the online survey was sent to each Center Coordinator of Clinical Education of sites who have clinical education contracts with Rockhurst University. They were asked to forward the email to practicing physical therapists within their facility. Outside of demographic data, the survey asked for feedback in areas including: medical checkups; exercise, sleep and eating habits; and the respondent's opinion of physical therapistsÕ role in educating patients about healthy behaviors. Descriptive statistics were calculated in Excel.Results : The average age of respondents was 37.4 years, with 74.7% being female and 25.3% male. The average BMI was 24.4 kg/m2. The majority of respondents were from the Midwest and worked in outpatient settings. Overall, the results indicate most physical therapists are practicing healthy habits, with exception of the following: ? 38.7% had BMI of 25 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) ? 57.6% reported exercising less than the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week ? 48.6% reported strength training fewer than the recommended 2 days per week ? 24.9% reported obtaining, on average, less than the minimally recommended 7 hours of sleep on weeknights Overall, most physical therapists agree they should be health and wellness role models and educate patients about such behaviors, however when asked if: ? discussing the benefits of a physically active lifestyle is part of their role, 5.67% disagreed ? they feel confident giving advice on a physically active lifestyle, 5.4% disagreed ? physical therapists should be physically active to act as a role model for patients, 5.11% disagreed ? physical therapists must Òpractice what they preach,Ó 5.71% disagreedConclusions : In conclusion, the results suggest that the majority of clinical physical therapists are practicing healthy habits and believe they should model and counsel patients on health and wellness behaviors. However, a substantial percentage of physical therapists may not be the best role models as they are overweight and not meeting the strength training and aerobic exercise recommendations.Clinical Relevance : Overall physical therapists are practicing healthy habits and believe they should also promote such behaviors. This puts physical therapists in the position to positively impact patientsÕ health and wellness.

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  • Control #: 2006484
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Christina M. Wisdom, Brian J. McKiernan, Bobbi J. Collins, Brad A. Lewis, Kimberly J. Peters, Brittney L. Schmidt
  • Keywords: health habits|clinicians|physical therapy

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