We are entering a new health paradigm. In the old model, people depended on doctors and other health professionals to manage their health. In the new model, people become pro-active. They take active responsibility for their own health. This shift has been taking place slowly over the last thirty years, but it’s picking up speed. Today’s health scene is a mix of both the old and new paradigms. The old model still prevails in many ways, but the new paradigm is gaining strength every year. Over the next 20 years, more and more people who want to live vibrantly will take charge of their own health.
The discipline of Lifestyle Medicine is taking the lead in shaping this new model of health. The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) began in 2004. Sister organizations have formed in many other countries since then, and the Global Lifestyle Medicine Association is now a reality. Their goal is to promote Lifestyle Medicine as the first treatment option as opposed to first treating symptoms and their consequences with expensive, ever increasing quantities of pills and procedures.
So what is lifestyle medicine? It involves using lifestyle measures to prevent, treat, and reverse lifestyle-related disease. This may include exercise, an emphasis on eating whole plant-based foods, stress management, tobacco cessation, and other non-drug modalities.
Does Lifestyle Medicine work? Scientific evidence strongly supports its effectiveness. Lifestyle can prevent up to 80% of chronic disease. No other medicine can match this. According to ACLM President David Katz, MD, MPH: “It is, quite simply, the best medicine we’ve got.”
I will be writing a fresh blog every week on anything that adds vitality to life. My desire is to share health tips I’ve gleaned from the literature and that work for me. They will be brief and to the point! Today’s point is that what you eat, think, and do shapes your health far more than you realize. No one else can do this for you. You are in charge!