The importance and urgency of lifestyle medicine
Chronic disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. Rates of chronic disease have never been higher, with the cost of chronic conditions eating up 86% of all health care dollars spent. Chronic disease is so common that more than half of U.S. adults have at least one condition, accounting for 90% of health care spending.
According to the World Health Organization, 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancer could be prevented, primarily with improvements to diet and lifestyle.
The U.S. spends at least 18% of its GDP ($3.35 trillion) on health expenditures. If costs continue to rise, by 2050 Medicare and Medicaid alone will account for 20% of the GDP. All projections point to continued rises in chronic disease. If we don’t reverse this trend, we are headed for bankruptcy as a country. The solvency of our nation is at stake.
What is lifestyle medicine?
Lifestyle medicine is a medical specialty that uses therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality to treat chronic conditions including, but not limited to, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Lifestyle medicine certified clinicians are trained to apply evidence-based, whole-person, prescriptive lifestyle change to treat and, when used intensively, often reverse such conditions. Applying the six pillars of lifestyle medicine—a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connections—also provides effective prevention for these conditions.
How lifestyle medicine can help?
Lifestyle medicine is an evidence-based approach shown to prevent and treat disease. It treats the underlying cause of disease rather than its symptoms that are too often addressed with ever-increasing quantities of pills and procedures. Because it treats causes and not just symptoms, only through lifestyle medicine can we alter the course of spiraling health care costs.
Whole Food, Plant-based Nutrition
Extensive scientific evidence supports the use of a whole-food, predominantly plant-based diet as an important strategy in the prevention of chronic disease, treatment of chronic conditions, and in intensive therapeutic doses, reversal of chronic illness. Such a diet is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and nutrient dense. Choose a variety of minimally processed vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Regular and consistent physical activity combats the negative effects of sedentary behavior. It is important that adults engage in both general physical activity as well as purposeful exercise weekly as part of overall health and resiliency.
Stress can lead to improved health and productivity or it can lead to anxiety, depression, obesity, immune dysfunction and more. Helping patients recognize negative stress responses, identify coping mechanisms and reduction techniques leads to improved wellbeing.
Avoidance of Risky Substances
The use of tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption have been shown to increase the risk of chronic diseases and death. Treatments often take time, different approaches and many attempts. Patience and support are an important part of breaking risky substance habits.
Sleep delays/interruptions have been shown to cause sluggishness, low attention span, decreased sociability, depressed mood, decreased deep sleep, decreased caloric burn during the day, increased hunger and decreased feeling of fullness, insulin resistance and decreased performance. Strive for seven (7) or more hours per night for optimal health.
Positive social connections and relationships affect our physical, mental and emotional health. Leveraging the power of relationships and social networks can help reinforce healthy behaviors.
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Read the full list of updated Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies
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with Branded Merchandise
This 22-article series of reviews and practice briefs introducing the field and implementation of lifestyle medicine to family medicine physicians describes the six pillars of lifestyle medicine, its evidence-based use in chronic disease treatment, its clinical practice implementation and its future as today’s fastest-growing medical specialty. The publication sponsored by ACLM was edited and peer-reviewed by the Journal of Family Practice.
Click the Magazine Cover and you will be directed to ACLM Connect where you can download individual article OR the publication in full.
We invite you to explore our ever-growing educational offerings, and the key events and conferences which keep our members at the cutting edge of lifestyle medicine and its clinical applications.
Remission of Type 2 Diabetes & Reversal of Insulin Resistance
Worldwide, Diabetes is a Leading Cause of Morbidity and Mortality
Yet, there is a safe, powerful and cost effective treatment and it’s time every patient, and clinician knows
Physician and Health Professional Well-being
This course pairs a unique perspective on personal and organization wellness with a practical approach and useful supporting materials, that can build a well-being mindset and improve work life balance for yourself and others around you.
Articles as CME/CE/MOC – Free for members!
ACLM and AJLM are pleased to offer CME/CE and ABLM MOC for one (1) journal article in each of the six (6) bi-monthly AJLM issues. All 6 peer-reviewed articles with quizes are available for free to members and for $40 for non-members.
LIFESTYLE MEDICINE CERTIFICATION
Most physicians and health professionals receive little to no education on nutrition, physical activity, sleep, social connectivity, stress management, and the avoidance of risky substance use which are the six pillars of Lifestyle Medicine.
Certification in Lifestyle Medicine indicates that the individual has mastered the science of preventing, treating, and reversing chronic disease in an evidence-based manner with official acknowledgement from the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (for physicians and specialists) or the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (for professionals and practitioners).
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Insider is a periodic look into the political, industry and economic environment we face as an organization of lifestyle medicine pioneers. Delivered monthly you are offered a real opportunity to stay on trend with how lifestyle medicine is changing the foundation of health and health care in the United States and around the world.