The Gallup-Healthways Physical Health Index and Healthy Behaviors Index, collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, involved interviews with 1,984 physicians and 7,166 nurses, conducted Jan. 2, 2011, to Aug. 31, 2012.
The Physical Health Index included 18 items, which measure the number sick days in the previous month, disease burden, health problems that get in the way of normal activities, obesity, feeling well-rested, daily energy, daily colds, daily flu and daily headaches.
The survey said fewer than 5 percent of physicians said they smoked compared with 15 percent of nurses and 20 percent of other U.S. workers.
Fifty-eight percent of physicians participating said they exercised three or more days per week, more than the 54 percent of adults in the rest of the employed population. Physicians were also more likely than those in the employed adult population to say they ate healthy all day "yesterday" and to report eating a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables, the survey said.
Thirteen percent of the U.S physicians in the survey said they were obese, versus 25 percent of other workers. Physicians were also significantly less likely than employed adults in general to say they have ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes, physicians were as likely as others to have high cholesterol and to have had a heart attack, the survey said.
The survey of 591,821 U.S. adults has an overall margin of error of 1 percentage point, the sample of physicians has a margin of error of 3 percentage points and the sample of nurses has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.