Michael Greger, MD and What is the most important component of Lifestyle Medicine?

Lifestyle medicine is the branch of medicine dealing with research, prevention and treatment of disorders caused by lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical inactivity, and chronic stress. In the clinic, major barriers exist to lifestyle counseling, because many physicians feel ill prepared or are skeptical about their patients’ receptivity.[1]

Today’s physicians might be encouraged to learn more about lifestyle factors if they only knew that Hippocrates, the Greek physician often referred to as the “Father of Modern Medicine” not only founded the Hippocratic School of Medicine, but also founded lifestyle medicine.

Hippocrates - c. 460 B.C.
Hippocrates – c. 460 B.C.

Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food” and “Walking is man’s best medicine”.[4]

Hippocrates often used lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise to treat diseases such as diabetes.  Such methodologies are today known as lifestyle medicine.  One inspiring practitioner of lifestyle medicine is Michael Greger, MD.

Michael Greger, MD and What is the most important component of Lifestyle Medicine?
Shirley Potasz, M.A. (Editor/Writer interviews Michael Greger, MD

Dr. Greger is not only a physician, graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine, New York Times bestselling author.  He is also an internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues, plus a founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.  What inspired him to pursue Lifestyle Medicine?

“My grandma was sent home by doctors to die with end stage heart disease at age 65.  At the time she was confined to a wheelchair with crushing heart pain, but she did not give up. She heard of Dr. Nathan Pritikin, one of the early lifestyle medicine pioneers, and she sought him out…She went on to live another 31 more years,” says Michael Greger, MD.

After his familial experience, Michael Greger set forth to become a doctor.  His Grandmother’s story can be found documented in Dr. Nathan Pritikin’s books, and it is why he practices Lifestyle Medicine today.

The choice has been successful for him.  Dr. Greger’s practice has flourished and his latest book, How Not to Die, was an instant New York Times Best Seller.  View the book trailer here.  100% of all proceeds he has ever received from his books, DVDs, and speaking engagements has always and will always be donated to charity.

Clearly his success is not isolated.  Lifestyle factors – poor dietary patterns, physical inactivity, tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption and psychosocial factors (chronic stress and lack of social support and community) are now key proximal factors in the pathogenesis and incidence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).  NCDs kill 38 million people each year.  Almost three quarters of NCD deaths – 28 million – occur in low- and middle-income countries.[2]  Lifestyle factors may also be more distal stressors, including economic, political or a high density population.[3] 

This extensive list can sound debilitating, and if left unaddressed they can physically stop you.  But hearing Dr. Greger’s words can be reassuring.

“The Number one cause of physical death and disability in the United States is actually Diet,” says Michael Greger, MD.

In other words, Food is the key component.  Food is so easily accessible, everyone should be encouraged to learn how they can use it and care for their own health.

For more information on Michael Greger, MD visit his website  Watch the full interview and share this article on social media.

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  1. Hivert, Marie-France; Arena, Ross; Forman, Daniel E.; Kris-Etherton, Penny M.; McBride, Patrick E.; Pate, Russell R.; Spring, Bonnie; Trilk, Jennifer; Horn, Linda V. Van; Kraus, William E.; Health, On behalf of the American Heart Association Physical Activity Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic; the Behavior Change Committee, a joint committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health and the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; the Exercise, Cardiac Rehabilitation; Nursing, and the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke (1 January 2016). “Medical Training to Achieve Competency in Lifestyle Counseling: An Essential Foundation for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases and Other Chronic Medical Conditions: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association”. Circulation: CIR.0000000000000442. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000442. ISSN 0009-7322.
  2. Kvaavik, Elisabeth (April 2010). “Influence of Individual and Combined Health Behaviors on Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Men and Women: The United Kingdom Health and Lifestyle Survey”. JAMA Internal Medicine. 170 (8): 711–8. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.76. PMID 20421558. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  3. Sagner, Michael (October 2014). “Lifestyle medicine potential for reversing a world of chronic disease epidemics: from cell to community”. International Journal of Clinical Practice. 68 (11): 1289–1292. doi:10.1111/ijcp.12509. PMID 25348380. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  4. Hakim, Chishti (1988). The Traditional Healer’s Handbook. Vermont: Healing Arts Press. p. 11. ISBN 0892814381.
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Shirley Potasz, M.A.

Editor of Specialties include natural food preparation, skin care, and changing one's lifestyle. • M.A. in Educational Technology from SFSU • Certified Nutritionist • Produces numerous videos and interviews • Performs novel research • Lectures publicly and teaches in public and private schools Past • Broadcast Radio and TV Host in Los Angeles • National Health Federation (NHF) Board Member and S.F. Chapter President (13 years) - championed state and national health legislation, spoke at conventions, and organized monthly lectures by foremost researchers.

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