Age and Body Mass Index (BMI)were the most important variables that predicted the number of steps taken per hour by doctors. Each year older corresponded with a decrease of 5 steps per hour and each point rise in BMI resulted in an average decrease of 20 steps per hour on the job.
There was no difference in the number of steps taken in the hospital by general surgeons and internists. There wasn’t even a difference between housemen, registrars and members of the staff. The average number of steps taken per day was 5325, per hour 548. For comparison flight attendants take 842 steps per hour and patients with a total hip replacement 143. A 7 year old school boy on average made 13.050 steps per school day, almost three times higher than the average specialist.
This study was done in 13 teaching and academic hospitals on the departments of internal medicine and general surgery. 131 subjects participated. Each recorded the steps with a pedometer for at least 4 to 10 days. Information about worked hours, weight, length and sex and age were recorded.
The average work day lasted 9.8 hours with no significant difference between subgroups.
If confounding factors are taken into account surgeons do more than only operating and staff members don’t just sit on their ass the whole day. The mobility of the older staff members was the lowest not because of their status but due to their higher BMI and age.
Goosen, J. (2008). How many steps does a doctor take in the hospital? No difference between internist and genral surgeon, but a relationship with age and BMI. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 152(4), 203-206.