Lifestyle medicine has evolved during the last decade concurrently with the dramatic rise in the prevalence of preventable chronic diseases that can be avoided or postponed or managed better with the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. According to the World Health Organization's about two thirds of the diseases around the world are related to unhealthy lifestyle behaviors.
The willingness to adopt healthy lifestyle habits is growing worldwide to our satisfaction and professional evidence based medical guidance and support is needed.
Lifestyle medicine has become a branch of clinical medicine which includes a series of evidence-based interventions that aim to help patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The essence of care in lifestyle medicine is on interventions to reduce or even eliminate the influence of the source of the disease and treat the disease itself. This approach can help prevent the disease or even bring to it's partial or complete remission.
Lifestyle medicine relies on behavioral modifications in six main domains: (a) physical activity, (b) healthy and balanced nutrition and obesity treatment (c) smoking cessation, (d) stress management and (f & g) healthy sleep and healthy sexuality, as well as other domains related to general health. It emphasizes the empowerment of Primary Physicians, Family practitioners and other members of the medical staff with theoretical knowledge and practical tools to enable practical approach in diagnosing and treatment in these fields. In addition, it provides tools from motivational interview, health coaching, positive psychology etc. to assist patients with health behavior change.
As we all know Physicians must and can help their patients and motivate them to improve health behaviors and adopt healthy lifestyles. Research has shown that the more physicians advise their patients regarding healthy lifestyle, the chance a lifestyle change will occur increases. In addition, it has been found that physicians may serve as efficient role models for healthy lifestyle behaviors.
In the last 10 years, the Israeli Society of Lifestyle Medicine within the Israeli Family physician's Association has acquired some experience in developing and delivering educational programs in lifestyle medicine as well as activities to promote physician's health.
We suggest creating a lifestyle medicine multinational working group within WONCA Europe. The group will develop position papers, syllabus for the study of lifestyle medicine and offer educational materials and courses for residents and primary care/ family physicians and other healthcare professionals. It can also work to encourage the physicians and other medical staff to lead a healthy lifestyle and influence their patients accordingly.
We invite WONCA members who are interested or involved in lifestyle medicine to join us and be part of this very important movement.
Together we can develop a working group and promote lifestyle medicine throughout the family physician network in Europe.
We believe that the future of medicine must include lifestyle medicine to avoid or improve outcomes of chronic diseases caused or exacerbated due to unhealthy lifestyle customary in the Western world.
For more information, please contact
Lilach Malatskey, MD, MHA, Chair
Igal Hekselman, MD, MHA, Secretary general
Shani Afek, MD, Executive member
The Israeli society of Lifestyle Medicine, Israel Association of Family physicians