Lifestyle Medicine

The discipline

Defined as “the application of environmental, behavioural, medical and motivational principles to the management (including self-care and self-management) of lifestyle-related health problems in a clinical and/or public health setting” (Egger, Binns, & Rössner, 2010), Lifestyle Medicine provides an interdisciplinary, whole-system approach to the prevention and reversal of chronic and lifestyle-related diseases through the modification of the behavioural, social and environmental drivers.

Bridging the gap between health promotion and clinical practice, it involves clinicians, public health professionals, healthcare executives, researchers, scientists and educators working together to prevent, manage and treat conditions that result from:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet or nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol overconsumption
  • Chronic stress
  • Anxiety
  • Poor or inadequate sleep
  • Social isolation
  • Loss of culture and identity
  • Other influences of society and environment

Lifestyle Medicine is growing in popularity around the world as a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to the challenges faced by our society and our health system. In Australasia, Lifestyle Medicine has grown under the guidance of ASLM and its board, working parties, members and management team.

The movement

Much more than just an evidence-based discipline, Lifestyle Medicine is a global movement for change in health, healthcare, society, environment and our future. It relies on the collective wisdom and will of health professionals from around the globe to help advocate for and inspire tangible change.

With every new or renewing member and supporter, our collective voice gets louder, politicians take more notice, and our initiatives have more impact.

If you support lifestyle intervention as the first-line treatment for many chronic diseases, join a like-minded group of passionate, resourceful and driven change-makers, and help us advance the Lifestyle Medicine movement for change.

People and principles of Lifestyle Medicine
Global impact of Lifestyle Medicine

The evidence

“Lifestyle as medicine has the potential to prevent up to 80% of chronic disease. No other medicine can match that.” (Dr David Katz)

Chronic and lifestyle-related conditions are a substantial global, national and individual health issue, now responsible for around 70% of deaths worldwide. What’s more, our healthcare system is rapidly becoming unsustainable under the strain of the chronic and lifestyle-related disease epidemic.

In order to address this growing burden, we must actively and effectively deal with the root causes of the problem. Many chronic conditions – the most common including cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory conditions, chronic musculoskeletal conditions, diabetes and mental health conditions- share common risk factors that are largely preventable or treatable.

Lifestyle Medicine is transforming the way we manage, treat and prevent chronic conditions by addressing these behavioural, social and environmental drivers; the modifiable aspects of the whole person (physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual), health behaviours, environment, and other circumstances. This is underpinned by an enhancement of self-empowerment and self-efficacy to manage and improve our own health.

Importantly, Lifestyle Medicine also recognises the upstream determinants of disease; promoting health equity, environmental sustainability, social justice and corporate responsibility. As a result, it recognises that not one health discipline or profession alone can meet our health needs. Instead, Lifestyle Medicine emphasises the essentiality of an interdisciplinary approach to health and healthcare, which shifts away from siloed practice and creates a genuinely collaborative means through which complex problems can be solved.

As a multidisciplinary society that supports an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare, ASLM offers equal membership, education and professional development to doctors, allied health practitioners, public health professionals, researchers and educators.

Setting the record straight
A question of discipline
  • Unpaywall is a useful legal add-on that you can add to your browser. It is a service that maintains links to full-text articles from open-access sources all over the world. Click here
  • You can join your local or state library (membership is usually free) you get access to databases. E.g.:State Library Victoria, State Library New South Wales.
  • Do not despair – Soon, nobody will read academic journals illegally, because the studies worth reading will be free. Click here

  • Evidence published by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. View here

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