Lifestyle medicine

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Lifestyle medicine is a branch of medicine dealing with research, prevention and treatment of disorders caused by lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical inactivity, and chronic stress. In the clinic, major barriers to lifestyle counseling are that physicians feel ill-prepared and are skeptical about their patients' receptivity.[1]

There is now overwhelming evidence that lifestyle factors such as poor dietary patterns, physical inactivity, tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption and psychosocial factors, e.g. chronic stress and lack of social support and community, are key proximal factors in the pathogenesis and incidence of NCDs.[2] Lifestyle factors may also be more distal stressors, including economic, political or a high density population.[3]

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".[4]


The leading causes of mortality worldwide are non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (synonym: chronic diseases); cardiovascular disease (17 million), followed by cancer (7.6 million), respiratory disease (4.2 million) and diabetes (1.3 million).[5] The newly published Global Burden of Disease Study (2010) has systematically highlighted the epidemiological shift in morbidity and mortality resulting from infectious diseases and malnutrition, to NCDs.[6] While humans have gained approximately 10 years of life expectancy since 1970, more time is spent living with injury and illness. Representing 63% of all deaths, most that die from NCDs are in the prime of their productive years.[7]


  1. ^ Hivert, Marie-France; Arena, Ross; Forman, Daniel E.; Kris-Etherton, Penny M.; McBride, Patrick E.; Pate, Russell R.; Spring, Bonnie; Trilk, Jennifer; Horn, Linda V. Van; Kraus, William E.; Health, On behalf of the American Heart Association Physical Activity Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic; the Behavior Change Committee, a joint committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health and the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; the Exercise, Cardiac Rehabilitation; Nursing, and the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke (1 January 2016). "Medical Training to Achieve Competency in Lifestyle Counseling: An Essential Foundation for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases and Other Chronic Medical Conditions: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association". Circulation. 134: CIR.0000000000000442. ISSN 0009-7322. PMID 27601568. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000442. 
  2. ^ Kvaavik, Elisabeth (April 2010). "Influence of Individual and Combined Health Behaviors on Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Men and Women: The United Kingdom Health and Lifestyle Survey". JAMA Internal Medicine. 170 (8): 711–8. PMID 20421558. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.76. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Sagner, Michael (October 2014). "Lifestyle medicine potential for reversing a world of chronic disease epidemics: from cell to community". International Journal of Clinical Practice. 68 (11): 1289–1292. PMID 25348380. doi:10.1111/ijcp.12509. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Hakim, Chishti (1988). The Traditional Healer's Handbook. Vermont: Healing Arts Press. p. 11. ISBN 0892814381. 
  5. ^ World Health Organization. "Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010". World Health Organization. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Stephen, Lim (December 2012). "A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010". The Lancet. 380 (9859): 2224–2260. PMC 4156511Freely accessible. PMID 23245609. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61766-8. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Bloom. "The global economic burden of noncommunicable diseases. Program on the global demography of aging." (PDF). Harvard School of Public Health. Harvard Initiative for Global Health. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 

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