What is Lifestyle Medicine?

Lifestyle medicine seems to be the new buzzword, mainly due to Dr Rangnan Chattergee and his TV series and his book ‘The 4 Pillar Plan’.

Lifestyle Medicine is defined as: “prevention and treatment of disorders caused by lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical inactivity, and chronic stress. Poor lifestyle choices like dietary patterns, physical inactivity, tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, as well as psychosocial factors, e.g. chronic stress and lack of social support and community, contribute to chronic disease. Coaching people how to cook healthy food at home can be part of a lifestyle-oriented medical practice”

Nutritional Therapy and Wellbeing Coaching are already very much part of this so I am pleased to see this becoming more ‘mainstream’
Dr Chattergee is helping train GP’s in lifestyle medicine so with time you may notice a change in your GP’s approach.

Aseem Malhotra is a NHS cardiologist who says “It is time for our healthcare systems, like the NHS, to incorporate this lifestyle medicine. Not only is it cheap, but it also comes without side effects. Good health does not come out of a medicine bottle.

As the heart transplant surgeon Christiaan Barnard said: “I have saved the lives of 150 people from heart transplantations. If I had focused on preventive medicine earlier, I would have saved 150 million.”

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Dr Ayan Panja and Dr Chattergee: “The sequencing of the human genome was meant to crystallize our understanding of the critical roles that genes play in health, but we have discovered the opposite.
Genetics only accounts for about 10% of disease risk, the remaining 90% being due to our lifestyles, behaviours and environment. Deep down, we GPs know this, and see it first hand when it comes to conditions like type 2 diabetes. But a paradigm shift has been going on largely out of sight of doctors looking at the role of lifestyle as medicine. There are reams of literature, which tell us about how food, movement, sleep and rest affect our wellbeing – down to a molecular level.

When applied carefully just like any intervention, it’s an effective way to tackle, prevent and sometimes reverse non-communicable disease, including autoimmune conditions. Imagine being able to accurately prescribe lifestyle medicine; well, now it’s possible. This is an intervention that is safe, low cost and easy to apply in practice. Along with increasing numbers of doctors, we have both practised this model of care for many years. As well as patient satisfaction, our own clinical satisfaction has immeasurably improved.”

This progress will hopefully herald a new chapter where nutritional therapy and wellbeing coaching will become fully accepted as ‘go to’ forms of healthcare.