Lifestyle Medicine: A Primary Care Perspective
“In order to afford to care for everyone in society, we need to focus on prevention and create solutions that allow delivery of sustainable, cost-effective health care. One place we can start is by making educational experiences in the field of lifestyle medicine a priority, and optimizing them at every level of physician training. We should take into account, as we continue to increase and refine lifestyle medicine curricula and learning experiences in medical education, that experiential learning theory supports focusing on practice-based experiences rather than relying solely on passive textbook or online content. Understanding lifestyle practices, and how to change them, will move us beyond placing temporary fixes on chronic conditions and help us get to the root of problems driving preventable chronic disease.”
Proactive Living: A Unique Model for the Promotion of Lifestyle Medicine
Lifestyle medicine (LM) is a growing field focused on maintenance of health and reversal of chronic diseases; however, it is still unfamiliar to many as it lacks a mechanism to set itself apart from other medical specialties, which focus primarily on management of established diseases and their symptoms. Given that employers have many incentives to maintain and improve the health of their employees, the corporate wellness space (corporate wellness) represents a considerable opportunity for LM. Proactive Living, a company at the confluence of LM and corporate wellness, promotes and connects LM practitioners with employers and employees through a mobile app (PAL App). The app is designed to improve health literacy, encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors, and engage individuals in their own health, while simultaneously helping LM practitioners market LM and grow their practice.
Moving Toward a Better Balance: Stanford School of Medicine’s Lifestyle Medicine Course Is Spearheading the Promotion of Health and Wellness in Medicine. American journal of lifestyle medicine
Stanford Medical School has created a class in lifestyle medicine that any student in the university can attend for credit. It is based on the foundational principles of lifestyle medicine and also informs students about topics such as Chinese medicine, naturopathic medicine, and wearable devices. The popularity of the course at Stanford speaks to the growing interest in the field of lifestyle medicine for medical students, undergraduate students, business students, and even engineers.
Physical inactivity is the most significant lifestyle risk factor of the 21st century. It is associated with increased morbidity affecting every major organ system, increased mortality risk, and significant economic cost. Exercise has clear benefit in certain conditions, both for disease prevention and disease treatment. In this paper, we review the recent evidence of the effect exercise has on various organ systems, osteoarthritis and low back pain, cancers, and mortality, and also propose strategy for implementing actionable plans toward healthier living through exercise.
A Novel Culinary Medicine Course for Undergraduate Medical Education
Traditional nutrition education in medical school has been inadequate to prepare future physicians to counsel patients on practical dietary changes that can prevent and treat food-related disease. Culinary medicine is being used to address this in a variety of settings, including medical education. The Teaching Kitchen Elective for Medical Students at Stanford University School of Medicine spans 1 academic quarter and combines hands-on cooking of food that is delicious and healthy, correlations with multiple clinical specialties, and role-playing real-life examples of brief dietary counseling with patients to make nutrition education practical and approachable. The course has been run as a quasi-randomized controlled study comparing 3 cohorts of students versus wait-listed controls via precourse and postcourse surveys. Preliminary analysis of the first cohort of students shows significant improvements in attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors around healthy cooking and meal planning for the students compared with controls. Despite these promising preliminary results, more resources are needed to be able to hold the course frequently enough to meet student demand.
Recent research has found important links between poor dietary choices, a toxic food environment, and high national and global burdens of chronic diseases. These findings serve as an impetus for a Food Revolution. The Gardner Nutrition Studies Research Group, along with a diverse range of collaborators, has been focusing on solution-oriented research to help find answers to the problems that plague the current food system. Research topics include (1) a recently completed weight loss diet study contrasting Healthy Low-Fat to Healthy Low-Carbohydrate diets among 609 overweight and obese adults; (2) a quasi-experimental study conducted among Stanford undergraduates that examined social and environmental, rather than health-focused, motivations for dietary change; (3) links between dietary fiber, the human microbiome, and immune function; and (4) ongoing collaborations with university chefs to create unapologetically delicious food for campus dining halls that is also healthy and environmentally sustainable. Most of these approaches emphasize plant-based diets. The decreased consumption of animal products has created some concern over the ability of one to obtain adequate protein intake. Evidence is presented that adequate protein is easily obtainable from vegetarian, vegan, and other diets that contain significantly less meat and fewer animal foods than the standard American diet.
SPOTLIGHT ON RESEARCH
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By Megan Deakins-Roche
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