With the overarching theme of ‘Innovation and Intervention, Environment and Equity’, the fourth international conference on Lifestyle Medicine in science, health policy and clinical practice to be held in Australasia (and the first of its kind to be held in New Zealand!) was a roaring success.

Approximately 430 delegates converged in Auckland, Aotearoa, to explore contemporary topics in Lifestyle Medicine, including:

  • Reversing type 2 diabetes, overweight, risk factors and metabolic dysfunction
  • Microbiome and health tech: Emerging science, innovation and application
  • Mental health: Mood disorders, emotional wellbeing and more

These topics were explored through a combination of pre-conference workshops, plenary keynotes, concurrent streams, discussion panels, breadth workshops, and through an abundance of meaningful conversation with like-minded professionals across the weekend.

Additionally, a ‘Culture as Medicine’ theme was threaded throughout the Conference, demonstrating that health must be addressed in its cultural and environmental context; for example, highlighting successful Marae-based and traditional diet-centred initiatives.

If you missed out on experiencing it for yourself, or want to re-live the buzz, check out the review and photo gallery below!

Demonstrating the power of Lifestyle Medicine

Hosted by the Grand Millennium Hotel, Lifestyle Medicine 2019 was a truly enriching weekend that demonstrated the power of Lifestyle Medicine, and the growing movement for change in healthcare. Delegates were treated to nutritious, mostly plant-based meals, morning yoga, and energising movement breaks to see them through a weekend of engaging talks from over 50 international presenters, including special guest speaker and former New Zealander of the Year, Dr Lance O’Sullivan.

With approximately 430 people in attendance over the three days, high-profile keynotes, participatory workshops and insightful panel discussions saw a rounded exploration of the latest translational scientific research and innovation in practice. Scientific abstracts were also integrated into the main Conference program, proving to be a wonderful opportunity for health professionals and post-graduate students to share their research, innovation and clinical work.

The formal opening and Powhiri with the Ngāti Whātua Orākei on Friday evening cultivated a beguiling atmosphere among the 320 in attendance, which was followed by this year’s ‘Brain & Biome’ special event; featuring a spectacular line-up of TED-style talks from leading experts Prof Wayne Cutfield (NZ), Prof Felice Jacka (AU), Prof Julie Rucklidge (NZ), Dr Kiran Krishnan (USA), and Dr Alena Pribyl (AU). With Dr Joanna McMillan as Master of Ceremonies, Brain & Biome provided delegates with new insight and opportunities to treat, modify and prevent psychological and physiological decline and dysfunction.

Moreover, plenaries, main concurrent sessions and breadth workshops across the weekend gave delegates a deeper insight into the Conference themes, and Saturday’s featured plenary with Dr Fraser Birrell (UK) gave compelling evidence for the use of Shared Medical Appointments in primary care. This was followed by an insightful panel discussion with Prof Jim Mann (NZ), Dr Lance O’Sullivan (NZ), Dr Lily Fraser (NZ) and Dr Lisa Te Morenga (NZ) on diet, nutrition, culture and health equity.

Adding a little sparkle to the weekend was the Conference Gala Dinner/Dance; an enchanting evening featuring live music from Matiu “The Hook” Te Huki. Delegates were treated to a delicious mostly plant-based buffet, shared a laugh with Simon Matthews as Master of Ceremonies, heard Shane Rakei’s powerful story of transformation, and enjoyed the freedom of movement on the dance floor.

Lifestyle Medicine 2019’s third and final day pulled out all the stops, with an opening keynote from Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance, Dr Margarete Ezinwa (NZ/US), on the essential role Lifestyle Medicine plays in personal and planetary health around the globe. Her talk instilled an inspiring reminder of the power of story, and the power of Lifestyle Medicine. Delegates were also treated to talks from Prof Felice Jacka (AU), Prof Stephen Myers (AU), Prof Peter Clifton (AU), Dr John Sykes (UK), and many more experts throughout the day.

To conclude what was an incredibly inspiring weekend, Dr Darren Morton (AU) spoke on an unexpected, yet vitally important message; despite sharing common problems, both parachutes (yes, parachutes!), and Lifestyle Medicine save lives, but in order to do this, they must first be deployed, and the intervention (parachute) must be big enough to address the challenge.

Lifestyle Medicine is fundamental to the reversal of chronic conditions, now responsible for around 70% of deaths worldwide. Where do you come in? Lifestyle Medicine is as much a movement as it is a discipline; a movement for change led by health professionals that seeks to provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, whole-system approach to the chronic and lifestyle-related disease epidemic.

Be a part of the movement for change in healthcare at Lifestyle Medicine 2020

15 – 17 May | Melbourne, Australia

Register now

If you’d like to re-watch your favourite lectures from Lifestyle Medicine 2019, and hear from the speakers you didn’t get a chance to see, complimentary lecture recordings are now available for those who attended. The recordings are also available for purchase for those who were unable to attend.

More from Lifestyle Medicine 2019

Captured on camera

Check out some of our favourite moments from Lifestyle Medicine 2019, captured by Picrama!

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