Hydration and meal habits of physicians and medical learners: a literature review

Eur J Nutr. 2022 Oct;61(7):3345-3356. doi: 10.1007/s00394-022-02914-y. Epub 2022 Jun 1.


Purpose: Nutrition and hydration are important components of physician and medical learner well-being; meal-skipping and insufficient hydration are known to negatively impact cognition. Existing data on these phenomena are sparse and rarely considered together; furthermore, there is a lack of literature on interventions to address these problems. We therefore aimed to characterize existing literature on this topic.

Methods: We conducted a literature review of existing literature on the prevalence of and reasons for meal-skipping and insufficient hydration in physicians and medical learners.

Results: Reported prevalences varied widely, as did the ways in which the data were collected. Reasons for meal-skipping and insufficient hydration are less studied, but a lack of time is the most commonly reported reason, among a variety of other barriers.

Conclusion: Further research is required to better characterize the prevalences and reasons for meal-skipping in physicians and medical learners. By consolidating the state of current knowledge on this topic in this work, we establish the groundwork for future studies and allow intervention studies to be based on a broader data set.

Keywords: Hydration; Medical student; Nutrition; Physician wellness; Resident.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Habits
  • Humans
  • Meals*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Physicians*