Do Cardiologists Follow Their Own Physical Activity Recommendations?

An ACC survey of cardiologists found that nearly half do not adhere to the aerobic activity recommendations of the 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. The research will be presented during AHA 2020.

Sarah K. Gualano, MD, FACC, et al., sought to explore whether cardiologists engage in >150 minutes of moderate or >75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week to reduce cardiovascular risk, as the guideline recommends.

The researchers sent electronic surveys to cardiologists on ACC’s CardioSurve panel – a representative sample of current ACC members. Of the 189 cardiologists who completed the survey, 13% were women, 33% were early career cardiologists, 27% were mid-career cardiologists and 35% were late career cardiologists.

Results showed that just 56% of cardiologists met the exercise guidelines and only 46% of respondents participated in vigorous activity. Of those who participated in vigorous activity, there was a higher prevalence among mid-careers cardiologists vs. early career cardiologists (58% vs. 38%). Results also showed that interventional cardiologists were less likely to meet the standards for exercise intensity when compared to general cardiologists (44% vs. 59%), and only 39% of early career cardiologists follow the activity recommendations.

“The impact on cardiologists’ health was not quantified, but this study suggests there is room for improvement in prevention behaviors,” write the authors. “Since physicians are known to serve as role models for their patients, we hypothesize lack of adherence to activity guidelines may also negatively impact our patients.”

The ACC is working to address clinician well-being and reduce burnout among cardiologists. Regular physical activity is one way clinicians can maintain their own well-being. For resources on mental and physical well-being, visit ACC’s Clinician Well-Being Portal.

Keywords: AHA Annual Scientific Sessions, AHA20, Prevalence, Risk Factors, Primary Prevention, Physicians, Burnout, Professional, Exercise


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