Assessment of Healthful Lifestyle Behaviors between Graduate Programs
Keywords:Medical Students, Cardiovascular Diseases, Health Behaviors, DASH Diet, Heart Diseases
Background: Heart disease is a condition with many etiologies, some of which include genetics, obesity, exercise, diet, smoking, and alcohol use. Studies show that increased years of education lead to better health outcomes, specifically lower rates of heart disease and obesity. Despite their high level of education, physicians have been shown to have a disproportionally higher rate of heart disease. Our objective was to determine whether there are particular lifestyle habits present among medical students that may lead to increased risk of heart disease as their academic and clinical futures progress.
Methods: 201 Quinnipiac University medical, law, and education graduate students were recruited to this survey study. Descriptive statistics were used to present the data. Chi-squared test and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to test the significance and a p-value <0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Medical students were able to answer health-related questions correctly more than their law and education student counterparts (p-value <.001), felt able to explain the terms saturated fat (p-value <.001) and trans-fat (p-value <.001) and give an accurate estimate of personal BMI status better than their counterparts in the law and education programs, but did not significantly differ in meeting Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet recommendations or American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations for physical activity.
Conclusion: Increased health-related knowledge has little bearing on individual dietary and physical activity habits of graduate students. We found no evidence to show that increased medical knowledge leads individuals to pursue lifestyle habits that lower the risk of heart disease.
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