What Is Lifestyle Medicine & Benefits

Table of Contents

What is lifestyle medicine?

Lifestyle Medicine uses complete food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress control, avoidance of risky substances, and good societal connection as a primary therapeutic modality for treatment reversal of chronic illness.

Lifestyle medicine is a medical approach that utilizes behavioral interventions based on science, research, and evidence to manage lifestyle-related chronic conditions. This practice’s philosophy is a set of core competencies that assist primary care providers in understanding how lifestyle affects health. By integrating lifestyle factors in their clinic or health plan design, maintenance providers can more effectively educate patients about nutrition, physical activity, stress management, sleep, social support, and environmental exposures.

Education & Board Certification

Continuing Education

ACPM collectively led a national consensus panel with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine that printed lifestyle medicine core competencies.  These competencies were outlined in JAMA in 2010 and form the basis of the LMCC (Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies) Program. It is a continuing medical education program that offers a detailed introduction to lifestyle medication’s foundational principles. Accessible through ACPM’s learning stage, the coursework equips medical professionals with evidence-based principles and interventions used in the clinical setting or incorporated into health plans or policies.

Included within the LMCC program, or as standalone elective courses, are just four modules devoted to the CDC WISEWOMAN  or the Well-Integrated Screening and Assessment for WOMen Across the Country program, which assists healthcare professionals to instruct women on the risk of heart attack and stroke, and also the methods by which it might be prevented.

During the foundational program and other lifestyle-related initiatives, ACPM proceeds to further adopt lifestyle medicine competencies into practice. Continuing medical education for physicians is provided by the ACPM (American College of Preventive Medicine). The ACPM is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

Board Certification: The American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (ABLM) provides certification in lifestyle medication. Certification as an ABLM diplomate distinguishes a doctor as having attained competency in lifestyle medication and suggests specialized knowledge and proficiency in four pillars: nutrition, exercise, rest, and social connectivity.

The Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program is approved by the ABLM as fulfilling the online/non-live CME requirement for board certification.

Lifestyle Medicine holistic approach

Why is Lifestyle Medicine Key to Sustainable Health?

The rise in chronic disease and associated health spending in the USA and in a number of other countries is unsustainable. Type 2 diabetes is a potential global pandemic with incalculable consequences. More than 80 percent or more of all healthcare spending in the US is tied into the treatment of ailments rooted in poor lifestyle choices. Chronic diseases and conditions- such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, and multiple kinds of cancer -are among the most frequent, costly, and preventable of all health conditions.

While a lot of conventional medicine focuses on treating disease, lifestyle medication takes a more holistic approach.

Lifestyle medication (LM) involves using evidence-based therapeutic approaches, including a mostly whole-food, plant-based diet, regular physical activity, sufficient sleep, stress control, and avoidance of risky sub-whole-food, to prevent, cure, and, often, reverse the chronic disease that is all too widespread.

The four pillars of LM are physical activity, sleep and stress management, relationships, and nutrition. LM is recommended by numerous organizations as the major foundational approach in traditional medicine. When you look at studies concerning real causes of death, tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity, and alcohol intake are primary contributors. All of the ailments result from lifestyle-related behaviors we often don’t talk about.

Plant based Lifestyle Medicine benefits

How do people benefit from plant-based lifestyles?

Lifestyle Medicine believes in the design of mostly complete food, plant-based dietary lifestyle. That stance recognizes a selection of dietary practices has signs showing health benefits. A large proportion of whole plant foods is the common thread. Lifestyle Medicine is an evidence-based approach designed to prevent and cure disease. It treats the underlying trigger of illness rather than its symptoms, which are too frequently addressed with increasing quantities of tablets and processes. As it treats the cause and not merely symptoms, can we change the course of spiraling healthcare costs only through Lifestyle Medicine?

Caregivers knowledge about Lifestyle Medicine

Most medical students and doctors don’t receive sufficient training in even the fundamentals of Lifestyle Medicine–nutrition and physical activity–we know that 85 percent of chronic disease is now brought on by unhealthy lifestyle choices in those and other areas.

About American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM)

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine is the medical professional society for physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, medical care executives, medical students, medical residents, and others on the medical care team dedicated to healing, reversing, and preventing chronic disease through lifestyle behaviors as a first-treatment alternative. ACLM fills the present void in medical education by equipping and enabling its members to practice evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine through online and live CME-accredited events and educational offerings, certification opportunities, clinical practice, and reimbursement tools, networking opportunities, patient education tools, and advocacy.

ACLM members are doctors, caregivers in training, registered dieticians, physical therapists, pharmacists, health coaches, medical care executives, physician assistants, nurses, medical insurance actuaries, and workplace health professionals.

For pillars of Lifestyle Medicine

The four pillars of Lifestyle Medicine are:

– Nutrition and ‘mood foods.’

There are dietary patterns that have strong evidence behind them in disease treatment, prevention, and change. Choosing the correct foods can also boost your mood. Nutrition psychiatrists cite the “gut-brain” link as crucial to managing depression and anxiety. Mood-boosting foods include nuts, beans, clams, mussels, oysters, leafy greens, wild salmon, organ meats, and seeds.

– Physical activity.

Being physically active can not only reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers but may also protect memory and thinking abilities. Being sedentary is its risk factor for illness. Regular exercise lowers blood pressure and helps prevent and treat depression. Areas of the brain that control memory and thinking are greater in quantity in those who exercise those who don’t. LM supports the CDC’s physical activity recommendations, including 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity and strength training two days weekly. Increasing non-exercise activity time can help improve overall wellbeing. Try getting up and moving every 30 to 60 minutes or taking the stairs. You could also increase activity by parking farther away from the office or having walking meetings when on the telephone.

Sleep and stress management

The advantages of avoiding sedentary behavior are well documented, but what’s the link between stress and disease When we’re stressed, we produce more adrenaline and cortisol, which may lead to blood pressure, increased heart rate, clotting,  and decreased heart rate variability. Stress also results in poor sleep, which contributes to irritability, memory difficulties, depression, and injuries. To enhance sleep, you should:

Develop a bedtime routine

Reduce TV time before bed

Follow a regular sleep schedule.

Avoid napping in the day.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Expressing appreciation and gratitude, enjoying nature, restricting social media, and scheduling time for activities you like can also help reduce stress.

– Relationships

Along with reducing stress and improving sleep, keeping a healthy social life also positively contributes to preventive health. For instance, our pets are often a number of our closest friends, but there are other advantages to being a pet owner. Having pets can reduce cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and feelings of loneliness. They also increase opportunities for outdoor activities,  exercise, and socialization. Friendships with pets or humans can decrease stress, shield immunity, and reduce the risk of developing dementia

Lifestyle medicine vs. conventional medicine

Lifestyle vs. Conventional Medicine review

– Similarities in Lifestyle Medicine and other forms:

Similar to option in that it can be another remedy – as in the Ornish program for a lifestyle approach to treating low back pain, hypertension, dyslipidemia, etc

Much like Integrative because there is evidence to support its use with traditional medicine for many ailments, and it is incorporated into conventional medicine

Similar to Preventive from the eye to good health habits, the role of lifestyle behaviors in controlling disease, and the program to every individual

– Differences in Lifestyle Medicine and other forms:

Stronger evidence base than many other therapies

Contains fewer treatment options: doesn’t include the vast array of therapies that are used in alternative treatment

It Isn’t used in place of traditional medicine as is an alternative medicine

Appears to match between alternative medicine and conventional medicine. It is much more specific (i.e., prescriptive) in its utilization of lifestyle interventions

Some portions of LM is almost always appropriate with traditional treatment

LM doesn’t include the screening, immunizations, and preventive medical therapies that are part of preventative medicine

better defined compared to integrative or functional medication; the interventions that make up these procedures are not specific; these procedures appear more nebulous

Unique attributes of Lifestyle Medicine:

Strict focus on lifestyle behaviors. Success depends on patient motivation. Must include motivational coaching. Applies to every clinic, every individual.

Involves more rigorous lifestyle interventions for certain diseases or threat conditions

Recommended in several federal guidelines for use in both treatment and prevention

A collaborative care model.

Limited variety of intervention approaches- more conducive to staff training.

The addition of motivational counseling in lifestyle change, training patients to become more involved and responsible for their own consequences.

Lifestyle medicine vs. functional medicine

Lifestyle medicine

Lifestyle medicine is a way of preventing, treating, and reversing disease by changing unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, promoting wellbeing. There are six major areas of attention to lifestyle medication:

obtaining adequate sleep

effectively managing stress

increasing physical activity

a healthy eating pattern

maintaining social relationships

avoiding risky substance abuse

Lifestyle medicine practitioners focus on the common underlying lifestyle-variables that drive disease. They advocate for positive behavior changes and appreciate active patient/client involvement throughout the wellness journey.

Lifestyle medicine focuses on health behaviors that promote good health. Educating what they are and how to effectively integrate these habits into your everyday life. By focusing on those lifestyle variables, you’re taking steps for your wellbeing and happiness

Functional Medicine

Lifestyle and functional medicine share lots of the same philosophies about wellness. Functional medicine philosophies also concentrate on the reason and motorists of disease. Practitioners of this kind of medicine want to determine how and why illness happens, and they restore health by addressing the original cause of disease and dysfunction.

A functional medication assessment puts a whole lot of focus on the “why” – professionals emphasize various kinds of functional and conventional laboratory work, genetic testing, nutritional supplements, and other lifestyle-oriented practices.

This medical standpoint also believes in using therapies such as “food-is-medicine” to promote wellbeing. They tailor their recommendations towards lifestyle variables, but they prioritize the genetic and biochemical disease-contributing aspects that every person may be experiencing.


Lifestyle Medicine students learn how to do a prevention and lifestyle evaluation as part of the history and physical diagnosis course and employ the knowledge to standardized patient experience to provide a nutrition prescription. Trainees get plenty of training on the best way best to deal with the disease, but not as much on how nutrition and physical activity to prevent illness. Lifestyle medicine training is attempting to change that and help the medical community cure disease by enhancing lifestyle-related behaviors.

There is more than one way to approach a problem, even one that includes your health. One approach does not work for everybody because we are all so unique, but several approaches are available. You should be permitted by your health decisions and convinced your healthcare plan is ideal for you and your targets. Do some research to be your health advocate.


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