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Derms score well in physician-lifestyle report


Dermatologists report high job satisfaction and are among the most likely of all specialties to take dietary supplements, a recent report suggests.


Dermatologists report high job satisfaction and are among the most likely of all specialties to take dietary supplements, a recent report suggests.

Medscape published its Lifestyle Report 2014, a collection of statistics gleaned from sources such as Gallup, Pew Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Lifestyle Report compares and ranks physicians by specialty according to their responses to lifestyle questions.

In the latest CDC report on obesity, for example, about 35 percent of Americans are obese (defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more). Of the physician categories, the dermatologist percentage was lowest on the list: Just 23 percent reported being overweight to obese.

The report notes that about half of all Americans take some form of dietary supplement. About two-thirds of dermatologists take supplements - the highest rate of any physician category. About 37 percent of dermatologists also take vitamin D.

Other findings:

About one-third of dermatologists take complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments for medical conditions.

Sixteen percent of dermatologists say they take more than four weeks of vacation per year, while 13 percent of plastic surgeons say they do.

At 70 percent, dermatologists (along with ophthalmologists) are the most content at home, while dermatologists are also the happiest at work, with 53 percent claiming to be very or extremely happy there. The least happy in their work are family and emergency medicine physicians, with only internists and radiologists close behind.

In 2012 Gallup poll, 54.7 percent of Americans exercised three or more times a week, while in a Gallup poll of physicians that same year, 58 percent of physicians claimed to exercise the same amount. When looking at exercise frequency by weight group, dermatologist respondents in the current Medscape survey who claimed normal weight did best, with 73 percent of them exercising at least twice a week. The heavier dermatologists came closer to the Gallup poll results, with 54 percent of those who are overweight and only 50 percent of those who are obese saying they exercise at least twice a week.

At 96 and 95 percent, respectively, almost all dermatologists and ophthalmologists claimed their health is good to excellent. But in general, the great majority of physicians who responded to the survey reported a high level of health.

Dermatologists are light drinkers. Thirty percent of male dermatologists and 27 percent of female derms are teetotalers, while 47 of males and 49 percent of females say they have fewer than one drink a week.

“It was gratifying to see that our specialty ranks among the happiest at work with the lowest BMI, and I believe the reason for this is that we are in specialty a that is gratifying in many aspects,” says Helen M. Torok, M.D., medical director of Trillium Creek Dermatology in Medina, Ohio. “It’s fascinating, that one out of three dermatologists has utilized CAM treatments for medical conditions, and that about half take supplements, with the No. 1 supplement being vitamin D. I am amazed that so many of us take vitamin D, as I believe its deficiency has still to be proven.

“The vacation of more than four weeks proves that we are committed and responsible physicians who are dedicated to their patients and family,” she adds.

Dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, M.D., who practices in Omaha, Neb., says the survey is “very interesting, but not terribly surprising.”

“It confirms what we know about dermatologists, which is that they are intelligent and make wise life choices, both in terms of work/life balance, drinking and life partners,” he says. “The one thing that was a little surprising to me was the fact that dermatologists were some of the harder working of the professions in terms of weeks of vacation per year. This is likely due to the fact that many dermatologists still run solo or small practices, which ends up leaving less vacation opportunity in comparison to the larger practices of radiology or anesthesiology, which topped the list.”

Dr. Schlessinger said the statistics on CAM treatments also surprised him.

“I wouldn’t think of dermatologists as ‘alternative-seeking’ physicians,” he says, “but perhaps we are influenced by our own out-of-the-box treatments when it comes to our own therapies.

“All in all, this (report) confirms the health and focus on wellness for most dermatologists.”

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