Dietary Habits and Preventive Examinations in Health Professionals

Background: Many countries, including Greece, have issued special dietary guidelines for their citizens. In Greece these guidelines urge the adoption of a balanced diet with emphasis on the Mediterranean diet model and reduction of dietary abuse. Aim: To record the dietary habits of Greek health professionals and to investigate whether their diet is associated with their obesity levels and frequency of laboratory examinations (serum glucose, lipids). Method: The study was conducted during the period January-March 2009 with the participation of health professionals employed in hospitals in Athens, Thessaloniki and the Greek provinces. The sampling method used was cluster sampling and the survey included 212 hospital staff, while 10 of those approached refused to participate, giving a response rate of 95.5%. After careful literature review a self-administered questionnaire was constructed specifically for this study. Statistical analysis of the responses included the Student’s t-test, the Z test of Wilcoxon, the x2 test, the correlation coefficient gamma, the correlation coefficient r and Cohen’s kappa coefficient. Results: More than half of the participants had a body mass higher than normal, and many tended to underestimate this. Smoking was a frequent habit, while alcohol consumption was less frequently reported. Most of the health professionals reported leading a sedentary life and exercising seldom (n=111, 52.4%). Regarding the frequency of having a clinical and laboratory check-up, most of them measured their blood pressure once a week or less (n=198, 93.4%) and their glucose and lipids only once a semester or a year (n=134, 63.5% and n=140, 66%, respectively). A significant percentage of the participants had these examinations very rarely or never. Regarding eating habits, 61.5% (n=198) of the health professionals consumed 2-3 meals daily and dined out once a week. More than half of them followed the Mediterranean diet pattern in 3 or fewer meals each week. The obese participants (r=0.18, p=0.010) and men [x2(3)=8.0, p=0.045] consumed red meat more frequently and white meat or fish less frequently. Almost half of the participants consumed dairy products more than 3 days a week, with a preference for low-fat products. Conclusions: It appears that despite having a more extensive knowledge of health issues, the hospital staff participating in this study followed the general pattern of a sedentary life, rare health check-ups and bad dietary habits. A first step towards better health might be for them to adopt the Mediterranean diet pattern.

Category: Volume 50, N 3
Hits: 396 Hits
Created Date: 15-09-2011
Authors: Konstantina Mantziava , Aikaterini Veneti , Dimitra Palitzika , Greta Vosniak