Surgeons are taller and better looking than other doctors

Surgeons are taller and better looking than other doctors, say Spanish researchers.

The study, published in the BMJ, looked at the phenotypic differences between male physicians, surgeons and film stars.

The researchers selected a random sample of 12 male surgeons and 12 male physicians from the University of Barcelona Hospital, and used the image of four well-known male film stars as external controls.

All subjects were matched by age, 52+/- 7 years, their height was recorded and they were asked to submit a digital picture.

The pictures were then randomly organised and shown to an independent group of eight female observers, all of which belonged to the same age group as the study subjects.

Observers used a score system, ranging from 1 for ugly to 7 for very good looking, to classify each participant.

The researchers concluded that, on average, senior male surgeons were significantly taller and better looking then other senior male physicians.

Surgeons were on average 179.4cm tall with an attractiveness rating of 4.39, compared to 172.6cm and 3.65 for other physicians.

Film stars who play doctors are significantly better looking than real surgeons and physicians.

The researchers suggested that physicians have a tendency to hang heavy stethoscopes around their necks, which bows their heads forward and reduces their perceived height.

Surgeons were also found to spend more time in cleaner, cooler rooms that had a higher oxygen content then the average medical ward. Fewer surgeons were bald compared to non-surgeons.

BMJ 2006;33:1291-3

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