Having a female doctor could be better for your health as patients are more likely to heed their advice, new research suggests.
Patients have been shown to take advice on nutrition, exercise and weight loss more from female physicians than their male counterparts, according to research published in the journal Family Practice.
A team of researchers from the University of Toulouse III, in France, looked at how gender influenced the doctor-patient relationship between 585 patients and 27 general practitioners.
The researchers questioned adult patients and their doctors using the same questions immediately after office visits. The study questions included information and advice given about weight, physical activity and nutrition.
Both male and female patients were shown to agree with advice on nutrition and weight loss from their female physicians while men who had a male physician were around four times more likely to disagree with their doctor about nutrition compared to the men with female doctors.
The findings show the importance of communication skills and the role they play, more so than gender, when getting patients to trust a doctor. “Physicians need to be conscious that their own demographic characteristics and perceptions might influence the quality of prevention counseling delivered to their patients,” the study concluded.