What is Lifestyle Medicine?
It’s the evidence-based medical specialty that uses lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substance use, and other non-drug modalities, to prevent, treat, and, oftentimes, reverse non-communicable disease, sometimes referred to as degenerative chronic disease.
Lifestyle Medicine is the prescription with only positive side effects!
This branch of health and medicine is emerging as the fastest growing around the world. The science overwhelmingly supports the efficacy of Lifestyle Medicine.
The Global Burden of Non-communicable Diseases (NCD)
NCDs are the leading cause of death globally; responsible for 38 million (68%) of the world’s 56 million deaths in 2012. More than 40% of them (16 million) were premature deaths under age 70 years. Almost three quarters of all NCD deaths (28 million), and the majority of premature deaths (82%), occur in low- and middle-income countries. (Source: WHO GB NCD 2014)
“Today, the global community has the chance to change the course of the NCD epidemic. The world now has a truly global agenda for prevention and control of NCDs, with shared responsibilities for all countries based on concrete targets. This is an historic opportunity to tackle the NCD epidemic that no country can afford to miss.”
~ Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General World Health Organization
Lifestyle Medicine’s Impact Around the Globe
European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition
European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) studied 23,000 people, and concluded that changes in lifestyle factors could prevent 93% of diabetes, 81% of heart attacks, 50% of strokes and 36% of all cancers.
Ref: Ford ES, Bergmann MM, Kroger J, Schienkiewitz A, Weikert C, Boeing H. Healthy living is the best revenge: findings from the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Potsdam study. Arch Intern Med 2009; 169(15): 1355–62
North Karelia Project
In the early 1970’s Finland had the greatest CVD mortality rate in the world. The North Karelia Project was started in 1972 as a national pilot and demonstration program for CVD prevention. Lifestyle factors were targeted both on an individual and community based level. Five years later the pilot was expanded from North Karelia to all of Finland.
25years after the program was started the age-adjusted CHD mortality rate among 30-64 year old male population had decreased by 73% in North Karelia and 65% in all Finland. There were also substantial decreases in cancer and all cause mortality.