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Older, male doctors more likely to play golf

Tuesday December 11th, 2018

Male doctors in their 60s are most likely to play golf - and surgeons make the best golfers, according to an analysis published today.

The study is published in the traditionally quirky Christmas issue of The BMJ.

It also found that handicaps among doctors varied substantially across the specialities.

The study examined two databases, the Doximity physician database and the Golf Handicap and Information Network database, to study the golfing habits of more than 40,000 doctors in the USA.

The researchers cross-referenced each doctor in the Doximity database with information in the Gold Handicap and Information Network database to find out doctors’ handicaps and the number of games logged in the previous six months.

They found that at least 4% of doctors play golf, with male doctors and surgical specialists spending the most time on the golf course.

Male doctors aged between 61-70 were most likely to play the game, while female doctors aged 31-35 were least likely to play.

Only 1.3% of female doctors were golfers, making up just 10.5% of overall doctors who play golf, while fewer than 3% of doctors in specialities such as internal medicine and infectious disease played golf.

The study found that doctors who specialised in thoracic surgery, vascular surgery and orthopaedic surgery had the best handicaps – about 15% lower than doctors in endocrinology, dermatology and oncology.

The Christmas issue of The BMJ also provides tips to help people from piling on the pounds over Christmas. Researchers at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research and the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, say that weighing oneself regularly at home and taking part in activities equivalent to calorie intake of festive food and drink are key.

It follows a trial of 272 adults, who were randomly divided into two groups. The intervention group was encouraged to record and reflect on their weight at least twice a week and was given tips on managing their weight and a list of physical activity calorie equivalents of popular festive foods and drinks. the control group received a healthy living leaflet with no dietary advice.

The results showed that on average, participants in the comparison group gained some weight over Christmas but participants in the intervention group did not.

Another study showed that regularly doing problem solving activities does not prevent mental decline in later life – although regularly engaging in intellectual activities boosts mental ability throughout life and provides a “higher cognitive point” from which to decline.

Dr Roger Staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and University of Aberdeen examined the association between intellectual engagement and mental ability in later life, using data from the archives of the Scottish Council for Research in Education (SCRE) who had maintained population-based records of the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1947.

The findings suggested that while those who regularly engage in problem solving puzzles could potentially enhance their mental ability, this does not “protect an individual from decline but imparts a higher starting point from which decline is observed.”

Koplewitz G, Blumenthal D, Gross N et al. Golf habits among physicians and surgeons: observational cohort study. BMJ 11 December 2018

Mason F, Farley A, Pallan M et al. Effectiveness of a brief behavioural intervention to prevent weight gain over the Christmas holiday period: randomised controlled trial. BMJ 11 December 2018

Staff R, Hogan M, Williams D et al. The ‘use it or lose it’ conjecture: An analysis of the effect of intellectual engagement on trajectories of cognitive ageing. BMJ 11 December 2018.

Tags: Fitness | Men's Health | North America

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