Investing in Wellbeing: Lifestyle Medicine’s Timeless Impact on Health alemoine January 31, 2024

Investing in Wellbeing: Lifestyle Medicine’s Timeless Impact on Health

Investing in Wellbeing: Lifestyle Medicine’s Timeless Impact on Health

Raquel Harrison, MD, FACEP, dipABLM, Emergency Medicine, Yale New Haven Health
Mary Mulcare, MD, FACEP, Summus Chief Medical Officer

Today, 6 in 10 people have a chronic condition, like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. And, 4 in 10 people have two or more conditions.1 These and other conditions are often preventable—caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices. These often drive significant healthcare costs and contribute to health problems and shorter life expectancy. 

Whether it’s a new year’s resolution, an ongoing health concern, or the desire to take control of your health, Lifestyle Medicine can help. It’s never too late to get started.

What is Lifestyle Medicine?

Lifestyle Medicine is a whole person, evidence-based approach for the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions. It works by replacing certain behaviors with healthier ones. Intensive lifestyle intervention programs exist that can even help reverse many of these chronic conditions. Lifestyle Medicine is a recognized specialty in medicine. Clinicians become board certification through the Diplomates of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine in order to practice in the field. 

Lifestyle Medicine providers listen to people to understand the root cause of their health concerns—from fertility and obesity to heart disease and diabetes. They recommend healthier, manageable, and sustainable lifestyle choices that patients can easily incorporate into their daily lives. With a focus on prevention and disease reversal, these small, daily changes result in healthy habits that improve overall health and wellbeing over time. Changes can be as simple as drinking water before consuming your morning coffee. Or stretching between meetings, taking a few minutes for deep breathing, or adding vegetables to your meals.

The six pillars of Lifestyle Medicine

The human body is an intricate ecosystem where every choice made, from what we eat to how we move, can fortify or challenge our health. Lifestyle Medicine rests on six key areas of focus, each playing a role in reshaping health:

  • Nutrition: Eating a plant-based diet can help to prevent some chronic conditions, including heart disease and the onset of many common cancers.
  • Exercise: Regular, moderate physical activity is an important part of overall health and wellbeing, specifically with benefits on lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of dementia.
  • Stress Management: Evidence based approaches to managing and reducing stress can significantly improve health by decreasing anxiety, depression, and immune dysfunction.
  • Sleep: Improving sleep quality can mentally improve mood and critical thinking while also physically impacting metabolism by improving blood sugar levels.
  • Social connectedness: Social connection has a positive impact on physical, mental, and emotional health having the greatest association with a long, healthy life span when compared with all other pillars
  • Avoiding Risky Behaviors: Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and other substances can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, liver disease, many cancers, and other chronic conditions.
The impact of Lifestyle Medicine

Unlike traditional wellbeing programs that include trainings or apps,2 Lifestyle Medicine has the potential to address up to 80% of chronic conditions.3 When employees and plan members embrace Lifestyle Medicine they reap many benefits. Research has shown that people incorporating Lifestyle Medicine interventions: 

  • experienced improvement in overall mental health4
  • had lower risk of dementia5
  • reversed heart blockages6
The promise of Lifestyle Medicine

Everyone can benefit from Lifestyle Medicine. A proactive approach to health improves outcomes by reducing risk, and lowers costs from fewer medical interventions, hospitalizations, and long-term, costly treatments. You can learn more about the positive impact of Lifestyle Medicine by visiting the American College of Lifestyle Medicine

About Summus

Summus Wellbeing through Lifestyle Medicine is a cost-effective way for employers to provide Lifestyle Medicine consultations for employees and their families and prevent, treat, and reverse chronic disease.

  1. Chronic Diseases in America | CDC
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2024/01/13/workplace-well-being-programs-didnt-improve-employee-mental-health-study-says/?sh=438b729b153b
  3. Home – American College of Lifestyle Medicine
  4. Combining Lifestyle Medicine and Positive Psychology to Improve Mental Health and Emotional Well-being – Darren P. Morton, 2018 (sagepub.com)
  5. Association of Lifestyle and Genetic Risk With Incidence of Dementia | Lifestyle Behaviors | JAMA | JAMA Network
  6. Lifestyle Heart Trial – Long-term study – American College of Cardiology (acc.org)

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