Lifestyle medicine recognizes that modifiable lifestyle factors (e.g., unhealthy diet, inability to effectively cope with stress) are major contributors to the development of chronic illness. Creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle plan (as opposed to pharmaceuticals) can be used successfully as primary treatments for these health conditions.
In fact, healthful behaviors can profoundly affect our health on cellular and genetic levels:
Cancer tumour-suppressing genes can be “turned on” by consumption of chemicals present in green tea
Genes that promote fat storage can “turned off” by exercise
Genes that promote inflammation can be “turned off” by meditating
Telomere (the portion of the cell responsible for protection of a cell’s genetic material) length is significantly increased by nutritious diet, exercise and stress management (telomere shortening is associated with development of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis)
According to a 2009 research study, modifiable lifestyle factors (including tobacco use, physical inactivity, low intake of vegetables and fruits, low dietary intake of “healthy fats”) are responsible for almost 85% of all deaths in the United States.
Health conditions preventable and/or responsive to lifestyle medicine approaches include:
25% of deaths from Heart Disease
90% of Diabetes Mellitus
90-95% of cancers
Frequently overlooked benefits of a lifestyle medicine approach include: