Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine

Vicky Prater, MDby Vicky Prater, MD
Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine

Introduction

By now you probably know that making healthy choices when it comes to the foods we eat or how much exercise we get is the right thing to do — but change is hard and doing it alone can be even more difficult. That's why we're excited to introduce a new service at Juno, called Lifestyle Medicine. The focus of Lifestyle Medicine is to inform and motivate you to improve your quality of life by changing habits and behaviors around the use of a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance or reduction of risky substances, and positive social connections.


What Is Lifestyle Medicine?

Lifestyle Medicine is the evidence-based practice of assisting individuals and their families to adopt and sustain behaviors that can improve health and quality of life.

Lifestyle medicine clinicians have specific training to determine how healthy someone’s behaviors are and what those behaviors contribute to their risks for lifestyle-associated disease.  Evaluating these areas also helps with goal setting and developing a plan to achieve those goals.

This differs from your typical doctor’s appointment as the focus of the time and space of a lifestyle medicine appointment is on empowerment and decision-making, rather than medications or procedures.

Additionally, lifestyle medicine doctors also receive special training in counseling patients to affect change in a way that's personalized and holistic.


Why Is Lifestyle Medicine Important?

What a healthy lifestyle is can be difficult to understand and enact.  More than 80% of Americans fail to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.  Whereas 75% of Americans will state that they eat healthy when asked.  When we take a look at what we know defines a healthy lifestyle,  3% of Americans are successful in living one.

Lifestyle choices play a key role in the prevention, treatment, and prognosis of chronic disease.  Poor diet has been determined to be the leading cause of chronic disease and disability in the United States.  Poor diet has also been determined to be the cause of death in 50% of Americans with heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

We know that making good lifestyle choices leads to good outcomes.  The Diabetes Prevention Program proved that intensive lifestyle interventions led to a significantly greater reduction in risk for diabetes compared to regular health education and even the use of diabetes medication.

Lifestyle medicine is important because it helps to facilitate healthy behaviors which in turn can save lives.


How Lifestyle Medicine Can Help You 

Lifestyle Medicine can help anyone who is motivated to make changes in their life to improve their health.  It empowers patients to have ownership of their personal health outcomes and fosters a more meaningful relationship between physician and patient.  Lifestyle Medicine approaches have been validated and aim to address the root cause of disease.

People who are a good fit for lifestyle medicine include individuals who have health goals and need help achieving them and are also ready to work for that change.  There is no one size fits all approach, so every individual can have a space for healing in lifestyle medicine.


Getting Started With Lifestyle Medicine

Improving your lifestyle does not happen overnight. Few people adapt well to radical changes.  Adjusting gradually and allowing healthier choices to become habits is the most sustainable solution. Getting expert support from your medical practitioner ensures that your new lifestyle is tailored to your personal needs, addresses the areas that are your biggest concerns, and gives you the tools for success. 

If you would like to know more about how you can change your and your family’s life for the better, get in touch with your Juno team. We would love to help you get started.

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