Cause to feel good: Docs top well-being index

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 - Female Physician

Physicians led the pack of professions for feeling that they apply their skills most effectively while nurses rose to the top for good dietary habits, according to a recent survey. The Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index found that physicians topped the list for overall well-being.

The survey included 172,286 interviews in 2012 of working adults who responded to questions designed to gauge their physical, emotional and fiscal well-being. The survey had six sub-indexes and 55 items. Respondents were categorized by occupation.

Being a physician ranked No. 1 for overall well-being by occupation, with a score of 78. Ninety-five percent of physicians reported that they felt they “used their strengths to do what they do best at work.”

Physicians also fared well on physical measures, with 59.6 percent responding that they exercised at least 30 minutes at least three times a week. Only the farming/fishing profession had a higher percentage, at 65.5 percent. Physicians sat at the bottom for obesity and smoking, with 14 percent and 3.9 percent in those categories, respectively. Transportation workers topped the obesity list, at 37.1 percent, and construction/mining workers led for smoking, at 32.4 percent.

Nurses displayed the best fruit and vegetable eating habits, with 64.8 percent reporting that they ate at least five servings of produce a day for four days or more in the previous week. Physicians ranked No. 4 at 61.4 percent, edged out by teachers (64.4 percent) and business owners (62.5 percent).

The 2012 index authors concluded that physicians were least at risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. Washington, D.C.-based Gallup Well-being published the results in March. 

Other recent research has painted a les sunny portayal of physicians' mental health, incluuding "MD burnout at 'alarming level, part 1," and "MD burnout at alarming level, part 2-spotlight on the ED."