About Joris Obenhuijsen
Co-founder & CCO
Co-founder & CCO
Joris Obenhuijsen (1970), also known as “The Sitting Chef” , suffered a spinal cord injury at the age of eleven and ended up in a wheelchair forever. After a lengthy rehabilitation period of 5 years, she finally went back to school, attended grammar school and studied law.
Not long after, she became the first professional model with a visible disability for Elite models and became a regular columnist at Algemeen Dagblad for 9 years. Her first book I love me was published in 1995 and sold more than 250,000 copies.
She subsequently published 22 more books on personal growth, transformation and health, three of which even became international bestsellers: The Deeper Secret , The Secret Within and The Power of Acceptance.
In 2016, she founded the first center for lifestyle medicine in the Netherlands: AM Lifestyle medicine Center , which grew into The Lifestyle Docs Clinics. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the magazines Annemarie's health and LifestyleRx .
The main reason is that I am deeply concerned that the world is increasingly made up of sick people with poor metabolic health. That daily medication is considered normal from the age of forty. Because what good is a sick population in the long term and a generation of children who we already know will be confronted with chronic diseases before us? Purely and solely due to an unhealthy lifestyle, which has proven to be the cause of a lot of action.
There are many good and sincere initiatives in the field of lifestyle. However, I hear too often that we also do "something" about lifestyle. Lifestyle medicine is not "a thing", but a serious medical discipline. At least in a number of countries in the world.
Although the Netherlands has caught up in the field of lifestyle, Lifestyle Medicine is still not a serious medical discipline. It should be. Even in medical journals, discussions still take place at a neutral level as to whether the majority of chronic lifestyle conditions are genetic or due to an unhealthy lifestyle. These types of discussions are conducted on the basis of insufficient knowledge, ego and not knowing the data.
Through the studies we have conducted with patients, based on the guidelines formalized in 2017 by the American College of Lifestyle
Medicine (ACLM), we have been able to achieve astonishing sustainable health gains for the majority of patients. The ACLM is doing everything it can to get lifestyle treatments into practice in hospitals. Unfortunately, this has not yet been very successful, perhaps the lack of entrepreneurship is to blame. This has been the starting point for me and my team to develop an applicable model that can be implemented anywhere in the world.
We deliberately named the model The Lifestyle Docs to emphasize that it is a medical company that carries out medical treatments based on science.
Lifestyle intervention expert and commercial director Joris Obenhuijsen: “Science shows that in lifestyle interventions, adjusting nutritional behavior trumps everything, and that a predominantly unprocessed, plant-based diet is really “food as medicine”.
The really effective lifestyle interventions in the world all use
a (predominantly) plant-based diet. This is not the case in our country
case and in my opinion is also the main reason why the
Dutch lifestyle interventions have been so ineffective to date
“Everything we need to know is already there. It is now time to actually do something with the abundance of existing knowledge. There are countless
recent scientific research, published in leading
scientific journals, which demonstrate the link that can no longer be ignored
between the consumption of meat and dairy and the increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.”
"Certainly. A change of lifestyle can have a huge positive influence on that and often even make medication superfluous. Often within a few weeks. Research shows that people with (pre)diabetes type 2 who eat healthier (and mainly unprocessed , plant based) eating, moving more and sleeping better often do not have to take medication Even patients who have been injecting insulin for years can often stop doing this completely after a few months of guidance.
Eating healthier in particular has such a huge positive impact on overall health and can reduce the severity of combined conditions. All the more reason, therefore, to use nutritional and lifestyle advice earlier and more often in the treatment of patients. In short: less medication, lower healthcare costs and a better quality of life”.
“To start with: an adjustment of the financing of care. Health insurers mainly reimburse medication and are geared towards symptom relief and short-term effects.
"The effect of lifestyle change can only be seen much later", it is often said. But what is overlooked is that the regular treatment of chronic diseases is a costly, long process because they often take months, years or even a lifetime.
Just look around you how many people are on heart medication, blood thinners, cholesterol lowering drugs, antidiabetics, blood pressure medication, antidepressants, stomach protectors and tranquilizers at the same time and in the meantime often also have an angioplasty and a number of stents.
That medication is taken for years, often even a lifetime and these people see every expensive specialist in the hospital several times a year and often undergo countless, costly additional examinations a year. Nobody cares about that. And then lifestyle medicine is cut back and a cheap GLI ( Combined Lifestyle Intervention) is introduced that should not cost anything. It's not to be taken seriously.
And what is also overlooked is that a thorough lifestyle intervention often has an effect within a few weeks, especially with type 2 diabetes, for example, and someone can therefore quickly reduce or stop taking the medication and expensive medical complications - and very expensive treatments. - to prevent.
Because someone's overall health also often improves permanently. It is therefore a much more sustainable approach, which makes it more logical to give priority to this form of medicine and to reimburse generously. Lifestyle medicine is a costly specialty, just like any other medical specialty. At least: at the front. At the back it generates money because people become healthier and gain more self-management through knowledge and more self-management. It is high time that people started to realize that”.
“No, in addition to the outdated way of financing healthcare, there has been another stumbling block to the implementation of lifestyle medicine until now: the lack of a model for directly applicable care. We have been working on this since 2017 and our medical specialist team has developed in recent years. This is a huge step for lifestyle medicine. Not only in the Netherlands, but worldwide”.
"That's right. With The Lifestyle Docs Clinics , we are bringing lifestyle medicine to the place and level it belongs to. Lifestyle medicine has always been the neglected child in medicine and has therefore never really got off the ground.
As mentioned, you do have GLI ( Combined Lifestyle Intervention ), which has also been reimbursed since 2019, but the results lag behind compared to leading international studies in the field of lifestyle medicine. This is because GLI is a “stripped down version” (or: a weak copy) of proven effective interventions, such as DPP or the Ornish Lifestyle intervention , which are essentially different in terms of nutrition and intensity. GLI is actually more of a “part” of lifestyle medicine. It is essentially more lifestyle coaching than lifestyle medicine”.
“Because the problems of patients, especially if they already have complaints or are chronically ill, are extremely complex. The medical problems that arise from unhealthy behaviors fall under the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome has a range of manifestations (such as obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, insulin resistance/diabetes, sleep apnea, lung problems, fatigue, pain, inflammation, infections, osteoarthritis/arthritis, depression, dementia, intestinal problems and accelerated ageing). unfortunately often occur simultaneously and reinforce each other.
Where a cardiologist, pulmonologist or internist is good at treating one of these problems, with a more extensive form of the metabolic syndrome it is important to be able to keep an eye on the entire medical picture and therefore have specific knowledge of how this interplay put together and how you can help untangle this tangle for the patient in question. In addition to knowledge about exercise physiology and training programs for people with (morbid) overweight, a great deal of specialist knowledge is needed about good (evidence-based) nutrition. The doctor must also have specific knowledge and skills to be able to guide the patient in these behavioral change processes, but also in reducing medication.
“We focus on “The Big 5”: obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis. This is because these are the most common chronic conditions that are all interrelated and each require expensive medication individually. Research from Nordsjaellands University Hospital and the University of Southern Denmark shows that people with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and also rheumatoid arthritis”.
“We are now in the process of rolling out The Lifestyle Docs Clinics to Turkey, USA. There are advanced talks and the interest is huge. As a hospital, rehabilitation center, general practice (or as a healthcare entrepreneur who wants to open an independent clinic), people like to be able to purchase ready-to-use lifestyle medicine in this way with the training, back-up and support of the specialists at our Dutch headquarters.
It is nice to see that when we started this in 2016 (under the name AM Lifestyle Medicine Center ) we were still so ahead of the pack that we always had to explain (and even defend) what we were doing, but that we are now offering exactly what this time demands and for which the current care offer has no answer".