Lifestyle medicine: the future of chronic disease management

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Lifestyle medicine is a new discipline that has recently emerged as a systematized approach for management of chronic disease. The practice of lifestyle medicine requires skills and competency in addressing multiple health risk behaviours and improving self-management. Targets include diet, physical activity, behaviour change, body weight control, treatment plan adherence, stress and coping, spirituality, mind body techniques, tobacco and substance abuse. This review focuses on the impact of a healthy lifestyle on chronic disease, the rarity of good health and the challenges of implementing a lifestyle medicine programme.

Recent findings

Unhealthy lifestyle behaviours are at the root of the global burden of noncommunicable diseases and account for about 63% of all deaths. Over the past several years, there has been an increased interest in evaluating the benefit of adhering to ‘low-risk lifestyle’ behaviours and ideal ‘cardiovascular health metrics’. Although a healthy lifestyle has repeatedly been shown to improve mortality, the population prevalence of healthy living remains low.

Summary

Lifestyle medicine presents a new and challenging approach to address the prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases, the most important and prevalent causes for increased morbidity and mortality worldwide.

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