Lifestyle Medicine Insider News and Updates – April 2024

Disclaimer: The information included in Insider is intended to give our readers a sense of what is happening in the news, research journals and other channels related to lifestyle medicine. Inclusion does not imply ACLM endorsement. Note that some links may require registration or subscription.

Pile of Newspapers


  • A significant article co-authored by ACLM’s President-Elect Padmaja Patel, MD, DipABLM, FACLM, and the American Academy of Family Practice’s Vice President of Practice Advancement Karen S. Johnson, PhD, and published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (AJLM) argues that lifestyle medicine is the value proposition for value-based care and whole-person health.
  • Measures derived from an ACLM expert consensus statement process represent the first objective comparisons between lifestyle interventions and non-lifestyle treatments for chronic conditions. They were published in AJLM and reported on by outlets such as Pharmacy Times.
  • Sodexo, one of the world’s largest foodservice companies, announced that it has expanded its use of a plant-based meal service in college dining halls to almost 400 campuses serving 1 million students across the U.S.
  • Changes to the federal program that helps pay for groceries for low-income moms and their young children, WIC, will mean that soon these families will have access to more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Medical Education

  • An analysis published in Cureus showed that healthy food choices and consistent physical activity are essential to high-functioning medical students and possibly play a key role in their achievement as students and practicing physicians.

Behavior Change

  • Behavioral engagement platform company Vitality, in collaboration with the London School of Economics, has developed a data-driven tool to quantify habit formation – the Vitality Habit Index. This tool measures the benefits of encouraging, forming, and maintaining healthier eating and physical activity habits.

Military Health

  • The recent inaugural Lifestyle and Performance Medicine Summit, which involved multiple ACLM members, is discussed in this Defense Visual Information Distribution Service article.

Health Literacy

  • The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), a policy design and implementation organization devoted to improving outcomes for people enrolled in Medicaid, has developed a series of fact sheets to help stakeholders understand, assess, and improve health literacy practices.

Shared Medical Appointments

  • A study published in AJLM by member-diplomate Jacob Mirsky, MD, MA, DipABLM, on the long-term impact of a virtual four-part lifestyle medicine shared medical appointment series showed sustained reductions were achieved in antihypertensive medication regimens two years after completion.

Physician Burnout

  • In this AJMC commentary, the authors suggest provider and payer organizations transitioning to value-based care take into account not just the contracting aspect but also the transformation’s effects on staffing, clinical workflows, and culture as these organizations evolve.


Food is Medicine

  • A new article by member-diplomate Marianna Wetherill, PhD, MPH, DipACLM, published in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health, describes the pre-implementation planning and evaluation processes used to successfully engage federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Kansas to develop new food-is-medicine initiatives.
  • As reported in STAT, the Food is Medicine Coalition, a national association of community-based nonprofit food providers, has released a 32-page accreditation standard focusing on medically tailored meals. Food & Friends in Washington, D.C., is the first agency to earn accreditation.
  • While the concept of food is medicine is gaining popularity, programs have had trouble securing funding and even settling on a uniform definition of what it is, as reported in Modern Healthcare.
  • A 2024 revision of the Aspen Institute Food & Society’s “Food is Medicine Research Action Plan,” first published in 2022, fully updates the quickly evolving body of research and describes the opportunities as well as the challenges of scaling, evaluating, and delivering health-promoting food where it is most needed.

Stress Management

  • A paper published in Behaviour Research and Therapy describes how a simple 20-second “micropractice” lowered stress levels and improved the mental health of undergraduate U.S. college students who did it every day for a month.
  • A brainwave study published in PLOS ONE showed playing with dogs helps people concentrate and relax.

Positive Social Connection

  • In this study published in JAMA Network Open, social isolation was associated with altered brain processing of food cues in the default mode, executive control, and visual attention networks. These neural changes (especially to sweet foods) showed an association among social isolation, eating behaviors, and psychological symptoms.



  • Much is being written on the new obesity medications and the associated need for lifestyle management. In this Obesity Perspective piece, authors contend that medical approaches impact physiologic pathways to support the success of behavioral approaches. Similarly, behavioral approaches can improve weight loss-adjacent outcomes that are not addressed by medication. Thus, the two approaches are complementary and must coexist if there is to be a significant, population-level impact on the obesity epidemic.
  • While Medicare has not covered GLP-1s for weight loss, a KFF analysis shows that gross total Medicare spending on Ozempic and other similar drugs has skyrocketed since GLP-1s were approved for medically-accepted indications other than obesity, such as diabetes. In the latest development, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has informed Medicare drug plans that they can cover Wegovy for preventing heart attacks and strokes for people who are obese or overweight.
  • Member and diplomate Deepa Sannidhi, MD, DipABLM, DipABOM, FACLM, participated on a recent KPBS panel discussing the new weight-loss drugs, how they’re changing medicine, and how doctors are navigating weight stigma as part of the conversation about these drugs.

Cardiovascular Disease

  • This Cureus review article explores the synergy between medical therapy and lifestyle modifications in the management of cardiovascular diseases, aiming to interpret whether a single approach holds the key to reducing major cardiovascular events.


  • Men with overweight/obesity and lower-risk prostate cancer undergoing active surveillance who participated in a lifestyle-based weight loss intervention successfully met weight loss goals and experienced improvements in glucose-regulation biomarkers associated with prostate cancer progression. The Prostate Cancer Active Lifestyle Study (PALS) was discussed in this Cancer article.


  • Despite its nickname as the “good cholesterol” because of its cardiovascular benefits, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was linked to as much as a 42 percent increased risk for dementia in older people with very high levels of HDL, according to research published in Lancet.

Kidney Disease

  • Maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle not only dramatically reduces odds of developing heart disease and stroke, but it can cut risk of kidney disease as well, according to preliminary findings from a new study presented recently at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention│Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Scientific Sessions 2024.
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology showed Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO)–a gut microbiota-derived metabolite generated by metabolism of dietary L-carnitine, primarily from red meat, and choline, from a variety of animal source foods–was independently associated with higher risks for chronic kidney disease(CKD) and faster kidney function decline in humans.
  • A population-based cohort study published in Prevention highlights the importance of lifestyle behavior intervention on cholelithiasis (kidney stone) risk regardless of the genetic risk in the White European population.

Partners in the News

  • Fox23 in Tulsa highlighted the new lifestyle medicine program at St. Francis, which is the first of its kind in Oklahoma.

Members in the News

  • Member and diplomate Elizabeth Whalen, MD, MPH, DipABLM, has been appointed Medical Director of the New York State Office of Public Health.
  • ACLM BOD member Josie Bidwell, DNP, RN, FNP-C, DipACLM, FACLM, has been appointed the new Director of Well-Being for the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
  • The Partnership for Quality Management at Battelle named ACLM President-Elect Padmaja Patel, MD, DipABLM, FACLM, a member of the Recommendation Group for its Primary Prevention Committee.
  • Karen Adams, MD, DipABLM, was interviewed for a Medscape story on weight loss after menopause.
  • Melissa Mendala, MD, MHA, MS, DipABLM, wrote for Healio about the social media trend related to supplement line Bloom, recommending readers “make informed choices.”
  • Dave Dunaief, MD, wrote on simple habits for the protection of brain function for TBR News Media.
  • Ziya Altug, PT, DPT, MS, DipACLM, OCS, CSCS, blogged on lifestyle medicine in physical therapy for the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy.
  • Harvey Hahn, MD, was interviewed by Kettering Health for an article on its new Center for Clinical Innovation.
  • In a Retirement Daily article, Jennifer Baker-Porazinski, MD, DipABLM, was interviewed on how current lifestyle choices are integral to determining whether retirement makes sense or, if a person does retire, whether post-work life will be fulfilling or difficult.
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution featured Poonam Desai, DO, FACEP, DipABLM, on five food secrets that many of the world’s longest-living people share.
  • Member and diplomate Amy Commander writes for Mass General Brigham on how key lifestyle factors can improve outcomes during and after cancer treatment.

Food for Thought

  • The Washington Post reports that Big Food and online dietitian influencers are promoting junk foods and discouraging weight loss efforts, despite rising obesity rates.
  • A study published in Nutrients and reported on in Healthday found that Americans are conflicted about plant-based diets.
  • How well do you score on brain health? An international study led by researchers at the McCance Center for Brain Health at Massachusetts General Hospital devised and validated a first-of-its-kind Brain Care Score (BCS) card that predicts how current habits might impact future brain health.
  • We agree with the authors of this European Heart Journal article–“It is imperative to lead a cultural revolution reorienting our priorities from managing ‘chronic diseases’ to promoting ‘chronic health.’”
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