Barriers to healthy eating by National Health Service (NHS) hospital doctors in the hospital setting: results of a cross-sectional survey

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Background With high levels of obesity and related illness, improving the health of the nation is a major public health concern. This study aimed to identify factors that prevent healthy eating among doctors, and that are associated with satisfaction with catering services. Findings Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 328 NHS doctors working in two NHS Trusts with on-site hospital canteen. Questionnaire to establish perceived barriers to healthy eating, weekly use and satisfaction with the hospital canteen, lifestyle and dietary habits, gender, age, height, weight, job details, and affect. Results: 70% of doctors reported using their hospital canteen each week, with 2 visits per week on average. Canteen opening times, lack of selection and lack of breaks were the most commonly perceived barriers to healthy eating. Availability of healthy options caused the most dissatisfaction. Only 12% felt the NHS was supportive of healthy eating. 74% did not feel their canteen advocated healthy eating. Canteen use is associated with younger age (r = -0.254, p < 0.0001) and health score (r = 0.123, p = 0.049). Conclusion Interventions to encourage regular meal breaks, eating breakfast and drinking more water each day need developing. Improved canteen accessibility and availability of healthy options at evenings and weekends may be beneficial.


Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalBMC Research Notes
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2008

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