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.
Stress 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.
Lifestyle medicine is a medical specialty that uses therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality to treat chronic conditions including, but not limited to, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Lifestyle medicine certified clinicians are trained to apply evidence-based, whole-person, prescriptive lifestyle change to treat and, when used intensively, often reverse such conditions. Applying the six pillars of lifestyle medicine—a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connections—also provides effective prevention for these conditions.
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
Know Your Patient Rights
When it comes to facing a diagnosis like type 2 diabetes, patients need as much information as possible to understand that it is not just a disease to be managed or accepted. Patients can sometimes achieve remission and reverse insulin resistance with the right tools and guidance.
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.