When exploring issues of women’s health, the focus is on gynecology, reproduction and breast disease. Global health initiatives indicate that women’s health is a key predictor of childhood, family and community health and well-being. Studies relating to physician health tend to report outcomes by specialty, age, training grade or academic rank rather than by gender. Thus it is difficult to provide a clear picture of health issues that specifically impact female physicians and anesthesiologists in particular. The occupational health literature provides some insights.

A 1998 national study comparing the health-related behaviors of female physicians with those of women in comparable and lower socioeconomic groups found that higher socioeconomic status was associated with better health habits in all the domains measured (smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, diet and recommended health screening, e.g., mammography). Among educated, higher-income women, physicians had the...

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