Incorporating Lifestyle Medicine Can Have a Positive Impact on Your Overall Health

We’ve all heard maintaining a healthy diet is important when sustaining or improving your ideal body weight, lowering your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and risk of developing chronic diseases, but that’s not all you should think about when looking at your overall health and well-being.

Physicians and residents at McLaren Greater Lansing Family Medicine Residency Clinic and Multi-Specialty Clinic use the lifestyle medicine curriculum to help patients live a healthy lifestyle and reduce their risk of chronic medical conditions.

“Lifestyle medicine is made up of six pillars and looks at the whole person and not just certain medical aspects,” said Dr. Brenda Lovegrove Lepisto, Psy D, LP, behavioral health academic program director in the McLaren Greater Lansing Family Medicine Residency Clinic. “These pillars are nutrition, physical activity, stress management, restorative sleep, social connection, and avoiding risky substances such as tobacco, drugs, and excessive use of alcohol.”  

While the concept behind lifestyle medicine isn’t new, up-and-coming doctors are just starting to learn how large of a role lifestyle medicine can play in impacting chronic diseases in their patients. According to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, chronic diseases ─ such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer’s ─ are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. Lifestyle medicine is used to treat these chronic conditions, and may even reverse such conditions. 

“All of our physicians and residents are educated in lifestyle medicine, so when we see a patient, we’re not only thinking about medications they may need, but we’re also looking at food, exercise, social connection, genetic, and other factors in each visit,” said Dr. Lepisto.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that 80% of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and 40% of cancer could be prevented primarily with improvements to diet and lifestyle.

Lifestyle medicine is built on evidence-based medicine when looking at these six pillars and how they correlate to a person’s overall well-being. During an appointment at the residency clinic or multi-specialty clinic, a lifestyle medicine assessment may be done as a baseline to give the physician, resident, and patient a better understanding of where their health lies at that time and what they can do to improve in certain areas.

“We can make tailored lifestyle modifications to what each patient’s needs are,” said Dr. Lepisto. “Lifestyle medicine can even be small modifications in daily life that make a big impact on our body and mind.” 

For those interested in learning more about lifestyle medicine, McLaren also offers healthy lifestyle group meetings every other Wednesday from 4 to 5 p.m., at McLaren Greater Lansing’s Cardiac Rehabilitation. These meetings are free, and anyone can join.

“Our internal medicine resident physicians have the opportunity to become board-certified in lifestyle medicine and run the group meetings that can help people learn more about healthy diet practices, ask any questions, and get support on their journey to living a healthier lifestyle,” said Dr. Aaron Bohrer, program director for the internal medicine residency program at the Multi-Specialty Clinic.

If you are interested in learning more about lifestyle nutrition, click here.

For more information on the McLaren Greater Lansing Family Medicine Clinic, or to make an appointment, click here.

To schedule an appointment at the McLaren Greater Lansing Multi-Specialty Clinic, which offers internal medicine along with obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) services for adults, click here.

For more articles on health and wellness, click here.