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What is Lifestyle Medicine
Sneha Kishore

What is Lifestyle Medicine

Lifestyle Medicine is the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a whole-food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, avoiding use of risky substances and pursuing other non-drug modalities, to treat, reverse, and prevent chronic disease.

Our current health care system is “sick care”. Treating diseases after they have already started. What if we can address them before they start? This is very challenging as cultural and societal norms have made it very difficult to make healthful choices with misleading health information, deceiving packaging of unhealthy foods, and food deserts in many of our cities. Lifestyle medicine focuses on constructive and compassionate guidance to help navigate this confusing landscape of nutrition advice.

It is validated as highly effective, addressing root cause of disease, has better outcomes and lower cost (value- based), is engaging, patient centered and affordable.

According to the CDC about 90% of the 3.5 trillion in annual health care expenditure is for chronic and mental health conditions. Chronic diseases have a significant health and economic cost in the United States. Preventing chronic disease or managing symptoms when prevention is not possible, can reduce these costs.

Heart disease and stroke cause 1/3 of all deaths in the United States. This costs our health care system $199 billion per year and causing $131 billion in lost productivity on the job.

Each year 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer and 600,000 deaths occur due to it, making it the second leading cause of death in the United States. The cost of cancer care continues to rise and is expected to reach almost $174 billion this year.

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes with 84 million having prediabetes. Diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure to name a few of its destructive capabilities. This costs the US health care system and employers $237 billion every year.

Obesity affects 1 in 5 children and 1 in 3 adults in the United States. Obesity can put people at risk of all of the previous disease and many more. Obesity costs the US health care system $147 billion a year.

Lifestyle Medicine aims to address root causes of chronic disease which are not limited to the above mentioned but to many more including brain health and autoimmune diseases. Addressing these issues through lifestyle changes allows us to finally reach long term health that is meaningful and sustainable.

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