Lifestyle Medicine is a branch of evidence based medicine in which comprehensive lifestyle changes (including nutrition, physical activity, stress management, social support and environmental exposures) are used to prevent, treat and reverse the progression of chronic diseases by addressing the underlying causes.
Chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and obesity are, in varying degrees, associated with unhealthy lifestyle and behavior, including tobacco use, nutritional excesses, lack of physical activity, and heightened exposure to stress.
Lifestyle Medicine helps individuals and families adapt and sustain lifestyle behaviors that can improve their health and quality of life. In its simplest term Lifestyle Medicine can be said to be a scientific approach that provides adequate health servicing for individuals and families in order to maximize health. Its aims are to use innovative interventions to prevent, treat and reverse these diseases in clinical settings.
Such interventions include but not limited to eliminating tobacco usage, moderate alcohol consumption, physical activity, practicing stress relief and improved diet.
Lifestyle related diseases are the leading causes of death globally, apart from also being the leading causes of healthcare costs worldwide.
These diseases result from lifestyle and environmental factors. Lifestyle diseases are not only a health problem but an economic challenge. Most chronic diseases are preventable. Lifestyle Medicine helps you understand how to do so.
Improve Health and Well-being
Current approaches to medicine and healthcare offer inadequate solutions to the problems we face.
Lifestyle medicine seeks to address these issues to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and societies. It offers healthcare professionals and patients new hope that these conditions can be prevented, reversed and better managed.
Lifestyle medicine is not a panacea for all the health challenges faced by humanity – however for specific, lifestyle related-conditions it must be part of the solution.
Lifestyle medicine’s focus is on the person in front of us and their lifestyle including:
- Physical activity and exercise
- Diet and nutrition
- Stress reduction and mental health
- Harmful substance reduction or cessation, eg tobacco, drugs and alcohol
- Healthy relationships
At the societal level, lifestyle medicine also emphasises the importance of broader factors impacting on individuals’ health and well-being including:
- Environment and ecological health
- Poverty and health inequality
- Social isolation
- Loss of culture and identity