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.
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 said, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food” and “Walking is man’s best medicine”.
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.
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.
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 NutritionFacts.org. Watch the full interview and share this article on social media.
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