The American College of
Advancing evidence-based lifestyle medicine to prevent,
treat and reverse non-communicable, chronic disease
What is lifestyle medicine?
A lifestyle medicine approach to population care has the potential to arrest the decades-long rise in the prevalence of chronic conditions and their burdensome costs. Diseases and conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and multiple types of cancer are among the most common and costly of all health conditions—but they are also preventable. By focusing on the lifestyle choices that give rise to these diseases in the first place, patients and providers have better outcomes and satisfaction. Lifestyle medicine is the foundation for a redesigned, value-based and equitable healthcare delivery system, leading to whole person health.
Are you looking for a lifestyle medicine provider? Explore our network of certified lifestyle medicine clinicians near you.
Whole Food, Plant-based Nutrition
Extensive scientific evidence supports the use of a whole-food, predominantly plant-based diet as an important strategy in the prevention of chronic disease, treatment of chronic conditions, and in intensive therapeutic doses, reversal of chronic illness. Such a diet is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and nutrient dense. Choose a variety of minimally processed vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Regular and consistent physical activity combats the negative effects of sedentary behavior. It is important that adults engage in both general physical activity as well as purposeful exercise weekly as part of overall health and resiliency.
Stess can lead to improved health and productivity or it can lead to anxiety, depression, obesity, immune dysfunction and more. Helping patients recognize negative stress responses, identify coping mechanisms and reduction techniques leads to improved wellbeing.
Avoidance of Risky Substances
The use of tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption have been shown to increase the risk of chronic diseases and death. Treatments often take time, different approaches and many attempts. Patience and support are an important part of breaking risky substance habits.
Sleep delays/interruptions have been shown to cause sluggishness, low attention span, decreased sociability, depressed mood, decreased deep sleep, decreased caloric burn during the day, increased hunger and decreased feeling of fullness, insulin resistance and decreased performance. Strive for seven (7) or more hours per night for optimal health.
Positive social connections and relationships affect our physical, mental and emotional health. Leveraging the power of relationships and social networks can help reinforce healthy behaviors.
Tools and resources on all six pillars have been created to help fulfill our vision of making Lifestyle Medicine the foundation of a transformed and sustainable system of health care. We hope you’ll benefit from several complimentary resources!
The Story Project | Video Series on the Impact of Lifestyle Medicine
Evidence overwhelmingly supports the efficacy of Lifestyle Medicine
Decades of research proves conclusively that making healthy lifestyle choices, like eating more unrefined, plant-based foods, is an important strategy in prevention of chronic disease, management of chronic conditions, and promotion of overall health.
A quiet threat to United States national security is infiltrating the health and wellness of the brave men and women who serve. The growing epidemic of chronic disease in the U.S. has not spared the armed forces, where almost 66 percent of service members are considered to be either overweight or have obesity.
I was 32, seeing about 30 patients a shift for Yale New Haven Health. I liked my job — the adrenaline rush from saving a life is medicine’s ultimate reward. But 80 to 85 percent of the diagnoses I made were straightforward, not immediate life-threatening events or complicated medical dilemmas to solve.
"Deena Clark had type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver and chronic fatigue when she discovered the lifestyle medicine program at St. Luke’s Health System in Boise, Idaho. The intensive program featured a multidisciplinary health team committed to helping her make sustainable changes to her health habits related to the six pillars of lifestyle medicine defined by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine — nutrition, physical activity, stress management, restorative sleep, positive social connection and
"Dr. Mussallem, a breast cancer and lifestyle medicine specialist, comes to appointments prepared with scientific evidence backing up why healthy lifestyle choices matter when it comes to breast cancer prevention and management care. Her patients are experiencing a range of emotions that accompany a breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Fear. Confusion. Determination. 'But patients welcome the opportunity to seize a sense of control over their disease and embrace the six
"Margarita Schneider-Munoz was in her early 20s when a nurse practitioner reviewing her family medical history shook her head and said something Schneider-Munoz never forgot. 'I am so sorry,' the nurse practitioner told her. She was referring to a family history reflecting that Schneider-Munoz’s grandmother was diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer in her mid-40s, and that Schneider-Munoz’s father suffered his first heart attack while also in his 40s. The nurse practitioner meant well but her
"As a passionate advocate for lifestyle medicine, Padmaja Patel, MD, DipABLM, knows many clinicians committed to practicing the fast-growing field and dedicated to restoring their patients’ health through proven, evidence-based treatments. But they struggle with financial unsustainability in a system geared more toward “sick care.” The predominant U.S. fee-for-service health care reimbursement model rewards clinicians for how many procedures and services they perform, not for making their patients healthy again."
"Give a patient a sense of ownership over their health, and you give them hope. That’s the approach taken by Sean Hashmi, MD, MS, FASN, Regional Director Clinical Nutrition and Weight Management for Kaiser Permanente Southern California, when prescribing treatment for his patients, many of whom have obesity. Ownership makes patients active participants in their care, not helpless bystanders. 'The best hope in the world is when they feel like they are in the driver’s seat,' Dr.