Lifestyle Medicine is the therapeutic use of evidence-based nutritional and lifestyle interventions, such as switching to a predominantly unprocessed and plant-based diet, reducing sedentary behavior, regular exercise, improving sleep, and reducing stress. These treatments aim to prevent, treat or in many cases completely reverse lifestyle-related diseases. It equips individuals with the right knowledge and life skills for effective behavior change to address the root causes of health problems.
Sustainable health and healthcare
The enormous increase in chronic diseases and the associated health costs, in the Netherlands and in many other countries around the world, is unsustainable. For example, type 2 diabetes is a looming global pandemic with incalculable consequences. The Netherlands already has more than 900,000 people with diabetes, and about 75,000 new diabetes patients are added every year (which is comparable to a full Amsterdam Arena). Lifestyle medicine is therefore essential for sustainable health and healthcare.
More than 80% lifestyle-related disorders
The good news is that 80% or more of all disease burdens in our country are tied to the treatment of conditions rooted in poor diet and lifestyle choices. Chronic diseases and conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, osteoporosis and various cancers – are the most common, costly and preventable health conditions.
Why nutrition is central to lifestyle medicine
More and more people are overweight, get diabetes or other chronic diseases. Nutrition often plays a crucial role in this. Insulin resistance is usually the basis of this health problem, which is only exacerbated by continuing to eat fast-absorbing carbohydrates and insulin-producing foods. Overweight also has much more to do with a poor diet than with a lack of exercise. For example, researchers from British cardiologists state in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. “It is time to debunk that myth: there is no exercise against a bad diet.”