Date of Award

Spring 4-19-2004

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Heather Bidinger

Second Advisor

Dawn B. Ludwig


Few studies address the physical health, mental health and quality of life issues for the physician assistant and the ways in which their personal choices are reflected in the assessment and recommendations of those served. This study evaluated the lifestyle choices of the Minnesota Physician Assistant and how PA choices influence the promotion of health. The particular problem statement for this thesis is: Are Minnesota Physician Assistants living a healthy life? Specifically, the sub problems are: (1) What are the lifestyle choices of Minnesota Physician Assistants and do their choices reflect healthy living; (2) What is the relationship between the lifestyle choices of Physician Assistants and their promotion and education of healthy living to their patients? This study was designed to be quantitative in nature and was focused on answering questions that would assess demographics, daily activities, and how often PAs educate their patients regarding healthy living. The study population for this survey was Minnesota Physician Assistants who attended the Spring MAPA conference in 2003. The instrument chosen for this study was a survey, used to collect data concerning the participating Minnesota PAs' lifestyle choices. The survey was twenty-two questions ind covered a range of topics including: smoking status, eating habits, physical activity, etc. Thirty-seven percent of the 104 attendees completed surveys during their attendance of the Spring MAPA conference. Twenty-six females (68.4%), and 12 males (31.6%),shared in the survey process. Ages varied from 20-50+, the majority between 20 and 40 years of age. When asked how often they ate fast food per week twenty-five participants (65.8%) declared they ate fast food zero to one time per week; 11 (28.9%) ate out 1-3 times; and 2 (5.3%) ate out 4-6 times per week. In this study it was demonstrated that exercise was a component of 79% of participant's weekly routine, whereas 21.7% stated that they did not set aside time to exercise. Approximately 57% exercise three or more days per week. The time spent exercising during each event was greater than 30 minutes for approximately 65% of the exercisers. It appears that PAs in Minnesota are choosing healthy lifestyle choices for themselves. Along with living healthier lives than those presented in the literature, Minnesota PAs are living lives that are more congruent with how they are educating their patients to live. By studying how Minnesota PAs are living and how often they educate their patients, it could be concluded that the PAs of Minnesota are practicing what they preach. Living healthy lives is great, but being able to lead by example speaks volumes to the patients served.The purpose of this study was to provide Minnesota PAs with a means toward bettering their quality of health in the coming years. It was hoped that Minnesota PAs would view the data from this study as highly informative and as a supplement to their career as a health care provider I


SC 11.PAS.2004.Mortlock.P