Guidelines

Home  > Research & Education  > Guidelines

ELMO is proud to present the Guideline for Lifestyle Medicine Curriculum made by the Education Working Group supervised by Dr Ioan Hanes and Dr Lilach Malatsky.
The purpose of this guideline is to provide a framework in the development of education and training in Lifestyle Medicine in the medical school and in the medical postgraduate training.
The contemplated topics are: nutrition and dietetics, exercise and fitness, stress therapy, behavior change, sleep, sexual health, sexual health, environmental health, tobacco cessation, managing risky alcohol use and communication.

The Guideline has been sent to the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Dr V. Andriukaitis

Download PDF Document – Guideline for Lifestyle Medicine Curriculum

Guideline for Lifestyle Medicine Curriculum

The World Health Organization estimates that in 2020 two-thirds of all diseases worldwide will be caused by lifestyle choices. By 2030, it is estimated that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) will account for 52 million annual deaths worldwide.

One of the priorities of The United Nations’ high-level meeting of the General Assembly on NCDs in 2011 is to reduce “the level of exposure of individuals and populations to the common modifiable risk factors for NCDs, namely tobacco use, unhealthful diet, physical inactivity, and the harmful use of alcohol, and their determinants, while at the same time strengthening the capacity of individuals and populations to make healthier choices and follow lifestyle patterns that foster good health.”

The biggest challenge in dealing with NCDs is to help patients change their health behavior. Physicians have the potential to influence their patients’ health behavior by presenting them with a set of skills in managing their lifestyle choices and by being a role model by practicing a healthy lifestyle. Both approaches have been proven to be very effective in supporting behavioral change.

The practice of lifestyle medicine incorporates many public health approaches, but it is primarily a clinical discipline. We are faced with a challenge: on one side, preventive approaches (lifestyle modifications) are generally not recommended or adopted due to multiple etiologies: lack of time, knowledge and skills by primarily medical giver, lack of economic benefits to commercial companies and the biggest challenge of mankind to make a change in oneself behavior, even an unhealthy one. On the other side, treatment services such as medications and surgery are recommended and adopted when there is an evidence-based medical indication for a treatment.

This is the reality that medical students, medical residents and medical specialists or lifestyle medicine practitioners are facing: the increase in NCDs is influenced by the lifestyle of their patients. The little time they spend with their patients in the medical office and the lack of knowledge about their lifestyle behavior is frustrating not only professionally but also personally. At societal and policy level the public health system faces increased expenses due to our inability to efficiently prevent and treat obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases. Lifestyle medicine could partially prevent and treat NCDs by offering a concrete set of tools such as stress management, smart nutrition or exercise training accompanied with effective tools to support and guide health behavior change. These basic skills are not sufficiently taught in medical training programs.