Six in 10 U.S. adultsand an alarming number of childrenhave at least one chronic disease, the majority of them lifestyle related. There is a lot of new information and research in the nutrition, lifestyle and obesity space, so bringing it all together can be a challenge for both physicians and patients. One pathway to comprehensively consider better treatments is incorporating lifestyle medicine.

Lifestyle medicine uses therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality to treat chronic conditions including, but not limited to, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Lifestyle medicine-certified clinicians are trained to apply evidence-based, prescriptive lifestyle change to treat and, when used intensively, often reverse such conditions. Applying the six pillars of lifestyle medicine—optimal nutrition, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connections—also provides effective prevention for these conditions.

More than 90 large health systems, including the U.S. military, are integrating lifestyle medicine. Twenty New York City systems alone are incorporating lifestyle medicine training. The Wall Street Journal recently predicted that future medical education will include lifestyle medicine as more medical schools incorporate it. At last fall’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) committed 5.5 hours of the free “Lifestyle Medicine & Food as Medicine Essentials” CME/CE course bundle for 100,000 physicians and other clinicians. Already more than 20,500 clinicians have registered to take the course.

ACOFP and ACLM have now partnered to provide ACOFP members this free CME/CE coursework.

Lifestyle medicine and osteopathic medicine align by recognizing the whole person, the body’s ability to heal itself with the proper care and that pharmaceuticals or procedures are not always the optimal first treatment. One study found that more than half of osteopathic medicine students were already familiar with lifestyle medicine compared to less than a quarter of allopathic students. Seventeen osteopathic medical schools have already established Lifestyle Medicine Interest Groups. Both osteopathic and allopathic medical school students are now more likely to  gain exposure to lifestyle medicine after graduation with more than 207 residency programs123 of which are family medicineimplementing it into curricula.

Physician engagement with education on lifestyle medicine can allow them to develop the foundation of knowledge they need to help patients make sustainable lifestyle behavior changes. In order to learn more about how lifestyle medicine can be integrated into practices and improve patient health, physicians may use the free CME course bundle. For those who wish to continue their lifestyle medicine education, ACLM, a content provider to AMA EdHub, offers other accredited courses and family medicine-related resources. ACLM also provides support for certification in lifestyle medicine.


Registration for the free course bundle is available here.

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