We have come a long way from the old adage: An apple a day keeps the doctor a way. Today,
it's quite unclear what the healthiest lifestyle actually is, and yet
lifestyle is essential to health. In the Diabetes Prevention Program,
changes in behavior produced the greatest risk reduction in the
development of type 2 diabetes - a risk reduction that no drugs have
yet matched. Obscurity about what the best lifestyle is - what to eat
and how much, when to sleep and how much, how to exerise and how much -
drove a group of doctors to create the American College of Lifestyle
Medicine, with its own publication for peer-reviewed literature, the
American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.
group was formed two years ago with the goal of encouraging doctors to
educate patients about lifestyle in an effective way. This means
providing scientifically-based (and that's key!) guidance not only on
the content of advice but also how to advise in a way that optimizes
patient adherence. Beyond this, there is some disagreement over the
movement - for example, over whether lifestyle medicine should be
incorporated into every area of medicine or be its own specialty?
Leaders of the movement stem some controversy by emphasizing that it is
not alternative medicine and they do not advocate non-evidence-based
strategies like "strict vegan diets and daily saunas." This is a
serious area of medicine, they say, and we have to agree.
April 17 article in the Times mentions the statistic reported in 2005
by the New England Journal of Medicine that predicted that, in a
reversal of a 150-year long trend, the life expectancy of Americans
will begin to decline over the next 20 years. This makes us think of
those T-shirts showing the ascent of man into homo sapiens and then
back down into today's hunched, viscerally fat computer geek! The
American College of Lifestyle Medicine may suffer from flippant
associations with fad diets, but we applaud this move into the next era
of medicine, which we foresee as a shift toward a chronic care and
preventive model, if it is successful.
Read the article: