Lifestyle Medicine: A Brief Review of Its Dramatic Impact on Health and Survival

Perm J. 2018:22:17-025. doi: 10.7812/TPP/17-025.


By ignoring the root causes of disease and neglecting to prioritize lifestyle measures for prevention, the medical community is placing people at harm. Advanced nations, influenced by a Western lifestyle, are in the midst of a health crisis, resulting largely from poor lifestyle choices. Epidemiologic, ecologic, and interventional studies have repeatedly indicated that most chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, are the result of lifestyles fueled by poor nutrition and physical inactivity.In this article, we describe the practice of lifestyle medicine and its powerful effect on these modern instigators of premature disability and death. We address the economic benefits of prevention-based lifestyle medicine and its effect on our health care system: A system on the verge of bankruptcy. We recommend vital changes to a disastrous course. Many deaths and many causes of pain, suffering, and disability could be circumvented if the medical community could effectively implement and share the power of healthy lifestyle choices. We believe that lifestyle medicine should become the primary approach to the management of chronic conditions and, more importantly, their prevention. For future generations, for our own health, and for the Hippocratic Oath we swore to uphold ("First do no harm"), the medical community must take action. It is our hope that the information presented will inspire our colleagues to pursue lifestyle medicine research and incorporate such practices into their daily care of patients. The time to make this change is now.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Healthy Lifestyle*
  • Humans
  • Preventive Health Services*
  • Preventive Medicine / methods*
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Public Health / standards
  • Risk Reduction Behavior