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.

Is lifestyle medicine a different type of practice than conventional medicine?

No, lifestyle medicine is actually the foundation of conventional medicine. Clinical practice guidelines for the top lifestyle-related chronic diseases support lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications.

Why is Lifestyle Medicine Essential to Sustainable Health and Healthcare?

The rise in chronic disease trends and related health care spending in the United States and in many other countries is unsustainable. Type 2 diabetes alone is a looming global pandemic with incalculable consequences.

This being said, there is good news.

While 80% or more of all health care spending in the U.S. is tied to the treatment of conditions rooted in unhealthy lifestyle choices, lifestyle medicine offers hope as a solution. Diseases and conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and multiple types of cancer are among the most common and costly of all health conditions—but they are also preventable. Lifestyle medicine addresses root causes by focusing on the lifestyle choices that give rise to these diseases in the first place. When implemented, lifestyle medicine can prevent, treat, and even reverse these conditions. 

TAKE ACTION

Four ways you can celebrate Lifestyle Medicine Week: