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To What Extent Should Health Care Professionals Practice What They Preach

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Should health care professionals practice what they preach?
Due to the nature of the job of healthcare professionals, they are often seen by their patients/clients as demigod and many other people look up to them in the society as templates to emulate in various aspects of life. Many lifestyle habits have been linked to the development of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure etc. Development of cancers, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension are also partly dependent on lifestyle habits. These diseases are the leading causes of death globally.
Smoking, alcoholism, obesity, lack of adequate physical activity and unhealthy dietary habits are the predominant disease-causing behaviors. Most healthcare professionals preach against these habits. However, it is disappointing to see that they are also involved
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discovered that only 10.8% of the respondents consume fruits and vegetables as recommended. Less than 50% of them engaged in vigorous exercise for at least 3days in the preceding week. Over 80% of them consume alcohol. All these did not agree with their perception of being role models for healthy lifestyle. They found out that those health practitioners with poor lifestyle behavior are less likely to adequately counsel their clients. They then concluded that lifestyle habits of physicians are short of recommended standard and this also reflects on how adequate they counsel their patients.1Similar findings were seen in the study of Bakhshi et al. conducted among registered nurses.2
This paradox has a negative influence on patients and often prevents them from adopting a healthy lifestyle. If my doctor or physical therapist cannot do or sustain it, why should I? If my doctor is overweight, why should I lose weight? Healthcare professionals are supposed to be good examples to their patients on how to stay
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