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Daneshvar, F., Weinreich, M., Daneshvar, D., Sperling, M., Salmane, C., Yacoub, H., et al. (2017). Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Internal Medicine Residents: Are Future Physicians Becoming Deconditioned? J Grad Med Educ, 9(1), 97–101.
Abstract: BACKGROUND : Previous studies have shown a falloff in physicians' physical activity from medical school to residency. Poor fitness may result in stress, increase resident burnout, and contribute to mortality from cardiovascular disease and other causes. Physicians with poor exercise habits are also less likely to counsel patients about exercise. Prior studies have reported resident physical activity but not cardiorespiratory fitness age. OBJECTIVE : The study was conducted in 2 residency programs (3 hospitals) to assess internal medicine residents' exercise habits as well as their cardiorespiratory fitness age. METHODS : Data regarding physical fitness levels and exercise habits were collected in an anonymous cross-sectional survey. Cardiopulmonary fitness age was determined using fitness calculator based on the Nord-Trondelag Health Study (HUNT). RESULTS : Of 199 eligible physicians, 125 (63%) responded to the survey. Of respondents, 11 (9%) reported never having exercised prior to residency and 45 (36%) reported not exercising during residency (P < .001). In addition, 42 (34%) reported exercising every day prior to residency, while only 5 (4%) reported exercising daily during residency (P < .001), with 99 (79%) participants indicating residency obligations as their main barrier to exercise. We found residents' calculated mean fitness age to be 5.6 years higher than their mean chronological age (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS : Internal medicine residents reported significant decreases in physical activity and fitness. Residents attributed time constraints due to training as a key barrier to physical activity.