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Lifestyle medicine is defined as the application of environmental, behavioural, medical and motivational principles to the management of lifestyle-related health problems in a clinical setting. It is an established branch of medicine where we discuss lifestyle's contribution to health in addition to non-pharmacological intervention in the treatment and management of lifestyle diseases such as exercise in diabetes mellitus and weight management in obesity. It should not be confused with lifestyle drugs.
Hippocrates can be seen as the father of lifestyle medicine. He often used lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise to treat diseases such as diabetes, what is today called lifestyle medicine. He is often quoted with "Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food" and "Walking is man's best medicine".
Lifestyle medicine is often prescribed in conjunction with a typical medicine approach of pharmacotherapy. For example, diabetic patients who may be on medication to help control the blood glucose levels in the short term might also be prescribed a lifestyle intervention of a healthy diet and exercise to assist in the long term management of their pathology. In some cases lifestyle interventions are more effective when augmented with appropriate pharmacotherapy, as with tobacco use where medications such as bupropion may be prescribed to assist the patient to quit smoking and adopt a healthy lifestyle change.
The Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association (ALMA) has been set up by representatives of professions involved in the field under the auspices of Southern Cross University. It is intended to represent the 14 disciplines eligible for medical benefits under the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) system.
The European Society of Lifestyle Medicine (ESLM) is a founding member of the Global Lifestyle Medicine Alliance (GLMA). ESLM is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious, scientific and medical organization.
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) provides leadership and assistance, facilitating lifestyle medicine clinicians' pursuits of continuing medical education, practice knowledge, leadership skills, and research information needed to provide quality patient care and best counsel patients with respect to lifestyle-related diseases.
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