Lifestyle medicine began as an element of physicians’ internal medical use and is now used to supplement traditional treatment. Physicians also use lifestyle medicine as a training tactic to encourage patients to take a more active role in their care (Tomlinson, 2020). Physician lifestyle modification coaching entails health behavior change counseling, health risk assessment, and clinical lifestyle modification application. The lifestyle medicine method was also used in postgraduate medical training courses in the United States to teach medical students about nutrition and exercise prescription. This paper aims to discuss the importance of lifestyle medicine to an individual’s health and how it ties into whole-person health.
In recent years, LM’s principles have been incorporated into the practices of various clinicians and experts across the healthcare spectrum. Indeed, this is wonderful creativity because health searchers can get lifestyle counseling and participate in healthy activities outside of a doctor’s office (Rippe, 2018). Shareholders invest in community health organizations and promotional events on an organizational level, making them free of charge and allowing health seekers and individuals to take better care of their health.
Across Canada, Community health centers (CHCs) provide free primary care to their citizens through a collaborative team approach. Community health centers (CHCs) combine social services, health promotion, and prevention activities that are freely accessible to individuals. Given that these clinics already provide health care and preventative health activities, LM is a strong fit to satisfy the needs of individuals (Tomlinson, 2020). CHCs have the advantage of actively addressing the social factor of health, hence assisting in eliminating health barriers and inequities. Faith-based health advancement organizations, such as the African American church, have long used LM concepts in their health curricula. According to Tomlinson (2020), the African American church offers weight management, breast cancer screening, blood pressure services, smoking ceasing, and diabetes programs to churchgoers and community members free of charge. The ministry is regarded as a trustworthy gatekeeper in these churches to encourage healthy behavior modification and provide health education.
The Rexdale Women’s Centre (RWC) in Toronto, On, Canada, launched a new wellness and health project for permanent and newcomers’ residents in the fall of 2016. The program was designed to promote and empower these customers’ health while removing obstacles (Malatskey et al., 2019). The program tackles socioeconomic determinants of health; it is built on community-based participatory research concepts and employs evidence-based research with cultural sensitivity. The program’s coordinator includes referrals to other community health agencies to better understand the issues surrounding the individuals’ mental health and other health difficulties. According to the program’s client feedback and satisfaction surveys, wellness and RWC’s health program have been a success to both the individuals and the community. Through lifestyle medicine activities, medical students can pursue their education in different fields (Malatskey et al., 2019). ACLM has also helped medical schools build Lifestyle Medicine Student Interest Groups and established lifestyle medicine certification requirements.
Due to the availability of community health services, LM is a way for members, including vulnerable and other marginalized groups, to reach their full potential in life. Due to their socioeconomic circumstances or other factors, these people are frequently denied the opportunity to participate in health-promoting activities (Rippe, 2018). Unfortunately, their inability to engage in healthy lifestyles contributes to additional health problems. Chronic diseases (CDs) are more common in low-income communities, and they are more sensitive to lifestyle risk factors. These groups have a lower life expectancy than the general population due to poor health outcomes.
Community-based LM-related health promotion efforts and services have proven beneficial for underprivileged communities. Because of the numerous aspects involved, sociocultural considerations in comprehending these communities’ health behaviors are frequently complex and laden (Tomlinson, 2020). Nonetheless, this initiative paves the way for conversations and creative ways to close the inequality gap, allowing everyone looking for health to have equal access to health-promoting activities. It should be emphasized that victim-blaming should be avoided if individual LM plays an active role in decreasing health disparities and promoting health. Individuals, particularly those with lower socioeconomic standing, are frequently blamed for their hazardous behaviors.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can greatly reduce the risk of developing a chronic illness. Nevertheless, it is not as simple as it appears since most individuals aim to maintain a healthy lifestyle but don’t understand where to begin or how to stick to it. It does not help that predominant care providers, particularly family physicians, provide little guidance on putting long-term strategies in place for living a healthy lifestyle (Tomlinson, 2020). In addition, giving LM-related facilities in individual health provides more than face-to-face dialogue on a physically fit lifestyle to individuals. It allows people to engage in health assistance such as health risk assessment, chronic condition management, group fitness classes, health literacy, and health action plans, among others (Tomlinson, 2020). Self-management care in an individual LM also helps health seekers develop objectives and gain empowerment, increasing their self-efficacy. According to LM, Individual health is critical and valuable in treating, preventing, and managing increasing community members’ activation.
Malatskey, L., Essa-Hadad, J., Willis, T. A., & Rudolf, M. J. (2019). Leading healthy lives: Lifestyle medicine for medical students. PubMed Central (PMC).
Rippe, J. M. (2018). Lifestyle medicine: The health promoting power of daily habits and practices. PubMed Central (PMC).
Tomlinson, S. (2020). Lifestyle medicine in community-engaged health promotion. ResearchGate.