Registered dietitians report healthiest lifestyle habits, among healthcare professionals surveyed

When it comes to eating a balanced diet, taking vitamins or other dietary supplements, exercising regularly, and engaging in other wellness behaviors, registered dietitians come out on top among eight healthcare professional populations according to the “Life…supplemented” Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Studies. The research studies, conducted in 2007, 2008 and 2009, are part of the "Life… supplemented" consumer wellness campaign which is dedicated to helping Americans live a healthy lifestyle by engaging in the three pillars of health: a healthy diet + supplements + exercise.

“It is no surprise that registered dietitians are practicing what they preach when it comes to engaging in a healthy lifestyle. Being ‘well’ requires you to approach your health from an integrative viewpoint,” explains Cheryl Forberg, R.D., New York Times best-selling author, nutritionist for NBC's "The Biggest Loser” and consultant to the “Life…supplemented” campaign. “Healthy eating and regular exercise combined with the responsible use of dietary supplements are key components of overall wellness, and registered dietitians are championing all three personally and professionally.”

The 2009 study shows that 96 percent of registered dietitians report trying to eat a balanced diet; 96 percent of registered dietitians report using dietary supplements at least seasonally—74 percent say they take them regularly; 83 percent say they exercise regularly; 80 percent say they maintain a healthy weight; 86 percent say they regularly visit their own health care professional and 72 percent claim they get a good night’s sleep.

While registered dietitians rank highest, other healthcare professional groups are also practicing healthy lifestyle habits. Following are the results, by healthcare professional group (listed alphabetically):

CARDIOLOGISTS

Of the cardiologists surveyed, 80 percent say they try to eat a balanced diet; 57 seven percent of cardiologists report taking dietary supplements, at least seasonally—37 percent say they take them regularly; and 67 percent say they exercise regularly. Sixty-nine percent say they maintain a healthy weight; and 49 percent say that they regularly get a good night’s sleep. Only 34 percent of cardiologists report visiting their own health care professional regularly. Sixty-six percent claim that they try to manage their stress levels.

DERMATOLOGISTS

Eighty-one percent of dermatologists surveyed report they try to eat a balanced diet. Seventy-five percent of dermatologists report using dietary supplements at least seasonally—59 percent say they use them regularly. Additionally, 70 percent say that they exercise regularly; 79 percent agree that they maintain a healthy weight; 64 percent report that they regularly get a good night’s sleep. Only 56 percent of dermatologists say they visit their own health care professional regularly. Seventy-one percent say they try to manage their stress levels.

NURSE PRACTITIONERS

Eighty-four percent claim that they try to eat a balanced diet. Ninety-five percent of nurse practitioners report taking dietary supplements at least seasonally—71 percent claim doing so regularly. Sixty-four percent claim to exercise regularly. Nurse practitioners try to manage their stress level, as reported by 86 percent of those surveyed; 76 percent say that they regularly visit their own health care professional; while 63 percent, claim to get a good night’s sleep. Only 59 percent of nurse practitioners say they maintain a healthy weight.

OBSTETRICIANS/GYNECOLOGISTS (OB/GYNs)*

Eighty-one percent say they try to eat a balanced diet; 80 percent of Ob/Gyns report taking supplements, including 56 percent who say they use them regularly. When it comes to engaging in regular exercise, 68 percent claim to do so. Sixty-eight percent of Ob/Gyns also report that they maintain a healthy weight. Only 57 percent report getting a good night’s sleep, and slightly more than half (51 percent), say that they visit their own healthcare professional regularly.

ORTHOPEDIC SPECIALISTS

Seventy-seven percent claim that they try to eat a balanced diet; 75 percent of orthopedists say they use dietary supplements at least seasonally with 50 percent saying they use them regularly. Sixty-nine percent say they exercise regularly. Sixty-nine percent also report that they maintain a healthy weight. When it comes to managing their stress levels, eight out of 10 orthopedists (80 percent) report doing so. Orthopedists do less well in getting a good night’s sleep (56 percent report that they do) and visiting their own healthcare professional regularly (40 percent report doing so).

PHARMACISTS

Of the pharmacists surveyed, 76 percent report that they try to eat a balanced diet. Eighty-six percent of pharmacists use dietary supplements, at least seasonally and 62 percent say they take them regularly. Fifty-six percent claim that they exercise regularly. More than three quarters, 77 percent, of pharmacists say they try to manage their stress levels. Seventy-five percent report visiting their own health care professional regularly and 67 percent claim they maintain a healthy weight. Sixty-five percent report regularly getting a good night’s sleep.

PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS*

A good majority of primary care physicians say that they try to eat a balanced diet (80 percent), and while only 48 percent of primary care physicians report regular use of supplements, 71 percent say they use them at least seasonally. Seventy-one percent of primary care physicians report that they exercise regularly. Interestingly, only 40 percent of primary care physicians report visiting their own health care professional regularly and 68 percent maintain a healthy weight. Sixty-three percent of primary care physicians say that they get a good night’s sleep.

Methodology: Results from the 2007, 2008 and 2009 "Life…supplemented" Healthcare Professionals Impact Studies were compared for this news release. The 2009 HCP Impact Study was released in December 2009 and comprised three separate surveys - (300) nurse practitioners, (300) pharmacists and (300) registered dietitians. The 2008 HCP Impact Study study of cardiologists (300), orthopedic specialists (300) and dermatologists (300) was released in November 2008. The 2007 HCP Impact Study was released in November 2007 and included surveys among (301) obstetrician/ gynecologists, and (301) primary care physicians in family medicine, general practice and internal medicine. Margins of sampling error at a 95 percent confidence level are +/- 5.7 percentage points for each of the groups of health care professionals surveyed. A nominal honorarium was given to each health care professional for completing the survey. Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the survey online.

About "Life…supplemented" - "Life… supplemented" is a consumer wellness campaign dedicated to driving awareness about the mainstream use of dietary supplements as an integral part of a proactive personal wellness regimen that combines healthy diet, supplements and exercise. The campaign is managed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry, under its affiliated 501(c) (3), the CRN Foundation. The dietary supplement category includes products such as vitamins, minerals, botanicals, sports nutrition, weight management and specialty supplements. More than 150 million Americans use these products each year to promote and maintain good health. Find out more about AlphaWELLS, WELLS, WannabeWELLS and OhWELLS by clicking on My Wellness Scorecard at www.lifesupplemented.org.

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