Globally, there is an ongoing epidemic of noncommunicable diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer and diabetes. These chronic diseases currently are the leading causes of morbidity and premature mortality along with being responsible for most of the healthcare expenditure. Additionally, chronic diseases impair quality of life and result in a great deal of pain and suffering. Evidence suggests that 80 percent of chronic diseases can be prevented by adopting healthy lifestyle measures like increased physical activity, healthy nutrition, managing stress, getting adequate and good quality of sleep, maintaining healthy relationships and social connectedness, tobacco cessation, and avoiding use of risky substances, which are the core pillars of lifestyle medicine (LM), an emerging discipline in healthcare. Furthermore, scientific evidence published in peer-reviewed journals shows that these chronic diseases can be treated and often reversed by addressing these lifestyle factors.
The symposium will provide a platform for education and training, allowing healthcare practitioners to explore opportunities related to implementing lifestyle medicine in healthcare to reduce chronic disease morbidity and the suffering associated with it. Additionally, the symposium will enable healthcare practitioners to engage in dialogue and meaningful discussions with their patients about the potential of lifestyle medicine ultimately leading to their improved overall quality of life and patient outcomes.
Professional practice gaps/Educational need
Despite valid research findings supporting the benefits of LM, numerous health care providers including physicians, remain unfamiliar and/or skeptical about the usefulness of lifestyle medicine in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases.
Knowledge is lacking because lifestyle medicine is an emerging discipline. Traditional medical and health professions’ curricula, which emphasize pharmacotherapy, surgical approaches and technological procedures, are deficient and/or lack education and training in lifestyle medicine. Lifestyle-related factors are, therefore, not considered in the usual conventional evaluation and management of patients.
Additionally, healthcare professionals lack the skills and competence to a) evaluate patients for lifestyle-related factors, b) provide guidance and prescriptions on nutrition and physical activity, and c) effectively use behavioral coaching methods for wellness and health promotion. Including LM in their conventional practice will improve patient outcomes.
Gaps related to lifestyle medicine in healthcare are evident and must be addressed to improve patient care and overall patient outcomes.
- Define and discuss key components of lifestyle medicine.
- Examine the evidence-base for lifestyle medicine interventions in the prevention and management of chronic disease.
- Discuss lifestyle medicine opportunities in healthcare.
Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, allied health professionals, educators, researchers and other health professionals.