Over the past few years, medical care in the U.S. shifted to focus more on lifestyle medicine. With more research showing a link between lifestyle factors and serious medical conditions, physicians urge patients to practice healthier lifestyles by promoting a healthy diet and quitting smoking.  

There is mounting research on the negative effects of lifestyle factors such as obesity and smoking. Recent research shows that obesity can lead to dozens of forms of cancer. Cigarettes are linked to numerous diseases such as cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and stroke.  

According to an article by Health Leader’s Media, less than 40% of doctors counsel their patients on lifestyle medicine. This deficit is a missed opportunity to maximize care and increase financial benefits. Promoting lifestyle medicine improves the outcomes of patients while minimizing long-term care costs.  


The Barriers

Time is the biggest factor in preventing physicians from promoting lifestyle medicine. While physicians are busy and have jam-packed schedules, they often do not take time to discuss lifestyle topics with their patients. Without bringing up these topics, physicians unconsciously send a message about a lack of care for lifestyle medicine.  

Physicians can leverage other clinicians to help them counsel patients about lifestyle medicine. Nurse practitioners can be brought in to discuss such topics with patients to ensure a shift towards a healthier lifestyle.  

Education on lifestyle medicine should also be included in medical school training. At present, lifestyle factors are not discussed in education. Physicians can benefit from this training early on to ensure they are promoting a message of healthy living. 


The Benefits

Finally, physicians can benefit from applying lifestyle medicine to their own lives to avoid physician burnout. Physicians can adopt both mental and physical habits to improve their personal and professional health. Lifestyle factors such as physical activity are great stress reducers.  

Lifestyle medicine represents the future of medicine. By taking action in applying lifestyle medicine, both patients and physicians can experience great benefits.  

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Source: Health Leader’s Media