The American College of Lifestyle Medicine states “Lifestyle Medicine involves the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substance use, and other non-drug modalities, to prevent, treat, and, oftentimes, reverse the lifestyle-related, chronic disease that's all too prevalent”.
Why is this important?
Our population has been accumulating more and more chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, heart disease, arthritis, heart burn, lung and kidney diseases, dementia and cancer. All chronic diseases are primarily driven by poor health habits and other environmental causes that can cause inflammation, injury and activate susceptible genes. 90% of healthcare costs, before COVID-19, went to treating chronic diseases. These same chronic diseases increase the risk of severe illness with COVID-19.
Research has shown that keping a normal weight, exercising 350 minutes a week, not smoking and eating an unprocessed diet rich in plant foods such as beans, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables and low in animal fat and red meat, refined grains, sugar and other processed foods and meats can practically eliminate diabetes and heart disease and lower cancer risk by one third.
There is early research showing that eating a mostly plant based diet reduces the chance of moderately severe COVID by two thirds! In a more recent study that followed people early in the pandemic from March 2020- December 2020, those who ate a higher amount of plant-based food were less likely to develop COVID and if they did it was less severe.
A recent study from South Africa followed more than 60,000 people from March 2020 to Jun2021 and found that aadults with high (at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week such as fast walking!) had significantly less severe COVID than those with low activity when contracting COVID-19.
In a nutshell, a healthy lifestyle optimizes the biochemistry and functioning of our body by decreasing inflammation and regulating our physiology, thus increasing our chances to enjoy a longer, vibrant, disease-free life.
We have created this Lifestyle Medicine Website to provide resources for practitioners, staff, and patients to support Optimizing Lifestyle and thus Optimizing Health. We have divided resources into three categories: internal to our institution, local to our community and virtual (websites, blogs and apps).
The Practice of Lifestyle Medicine
- Stony Brook Lifestyle and Integrative Medicine Practice
(Lifestyle and Integrative Medicine | Stony Brook Medicine)
A Family Medicine Practice that incorporates Integrative and Lifestyle medicine. Dr. Raja Jaber is currently leading the Lifestyle Medicine Initiative at Stony Brook.
- Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group:
- Ed and Phyllis Davis Wellness Institute, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital
Providing fitness classes for elderly and patients with chronic diseases such as cancer and Parkinson's as well as a range of complementary therapies including acupuncture, massage, yoga, meditation, etc.
- Site of Stacey Funt MD
Site of Stacey Funt MD, a lifestyle medicine educator, a national board certified health and wellness coach and a Co-Active trained life coach . Site has also great resources for lifestyle changes
- Lifestyle Link with Lisa Zimmerman
Lifestylelinkli is a health coaching practice that links all lifestyle medicine pillars. We provide support around plant-based eating, joyful movement, restorative sleep, positive social connections and stress reduction.
- Alpine Health
Alpine Heath is a lifestyle medicine practice that supports people in achieving wellness through healthful eating, exercise, coping with stress, sleeping better, social connectedness, and counseling on habits and patterns like alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. It is led by a doctor -psychologist team whose philosophy is to listen and help people create their own path to health, from wherever they are
- American College of Lifestyle Medicine (Link here)
"ACLM is the medical professional society providing quality education and certification to those dedicated to clinical and worksite practice of lifestyle medicine as the foundation of a transformed and sustainable healthcare system." With videos to watch and readings to learn from, the ACLM website is a great resource for all who are either starting to learn about Lifestyle Medicine, or are already experts in the field.
- Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard (Link here)
"A non-profit professional education, research, and advocacy organization, the ILM is uniquely positioned to ignite clinican involvement in lifestyle medicine. The ILM offers the following services: Training for health professionals wishing to improve their personal lifestyle choices so that they can be more effective role models for their patients." That includes tools for behavioural change and a Culinary course.
- Harvard introduction to lifestyle medicine course (Link here)
A two-hour long video from Harvard's Psych E 1037 class introducing lifestyle medicine, instructed by Elizabeth Pegg Frates, MD, the Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of Medical Student Education at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine from Harvard Medical School.
- Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine for patients (Link here)
American College of Lifestyle Medicine's informative slides about "prevention, treatment, and reversal of Disease" through Lifestyle Medicine.
- Dean Ornish’s program and research (Link here)
The Ornish Lifestyle Medicine page provides research on nutrition, stress management, fitness, and love and support, along with reversal programs to help "undo" heart disease. Dr. Dean Ornish and colleagues are even researching if there are ways to "undo" early stages of Alzheimer's disease through lifestyle medicine.
- Lifestyle Medicine Foundation Webinars (Link here)
The non-profit organization Lifestyle Medicine Foundation provides various webinars on how changing your lifestyle can help with issues such as back pain, hypertension, diabetes, ADD, cardiovascular disease, even cancer, and so much more. There are almost 400 webinars in total for over 38 diseases.
- The Nutrition Source from Harvard School of Public Health (Link here)
An excellent website from Harvard School of Public Health provides basic information about various food groups, such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, their sources and qualities, as well as information about managing cravings, healthy diets, and fitness for adults and children. Also includes easy to follow healthy recipes.
- Dr. Saray Stancic – The Power of Lifestyle Medicine (Link here)
Dr. Stancic is a physician who specialized in infectious disease and who developed mutliple sclerosis in her third year of residency. She has utlized all the tools of lifestyle medicine in her journey to healing that is well described in the movie Code Blue. Dr. Stancic's website details the work she has done and is continuing to do for Lifestyle Medicine. She has a book, gives many talks, and provides resources including her newsletter. She is a passionate advocate for lifestyle medicine.
- Integrating Lifestyle Medicine into Medical Education (Link here)
LMEd provides open access, evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine curricular resources to build knowledge, skills and advocacy in clinicians for the prevention and treatment of lifestyle-related chronic disease.
- Ardmore Institute of Health (Link here)
Ardmore Institute of Health's vision is to work for a future where healthy lifestyles will be the preferred method to prevent, treat and reverse chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.