Looking for a 'Lifestyle Health' Doctor?

Looking for a 'Lifestyle Health' Doctor?

New online directory lists certified lifestyle medicine practitioners

You might not know what a “lifestyle medicine practitioner” is, but there’s a new online directory that will help you find one when you need it. It’s just been launched by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and lists doctors who try to use improvements in your lifestyle to head off disease. You can find it at www.lifestylemedpros.org.

Actually, it sounds like lifestyle medicine is similar to preventive medicine, which everybody talks about but few people do anything about. It’s defined as “an evidence-based medical specialty that utilizes therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality to treat chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.” In other words, living healthily.

There are, according to the ACLM, six pillars of lifestyle medicine:

  • a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern,
  • regular physical activity,
  • restorative sleep,
  • stress management,
  • avoidance of risky substances, and
  • positive social connection.

None of this is controversial. The World Health Organization has stated that 80 percent of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40 percent of cancer could be prevented, primarily with improvements to diet and lifestyle.

Removing the quesswork

The problem, of course, is that it can be challenging for patients to know which doctors in their area are qualified and certified to practice lifestyle medicine. Thus, ACLM’s new directory allows patients to filter their searches by distance radius from a street address or zip code and by clinician type, such as lifestyle medicine physicians or other lifestyle medicine health professionals.

“Clinicians are increasingly embracing lifestyle medicine as the foundation of all health care and patients are increasingly tired of addressing only the symptoms of chronic disease with ever increasing, costly medications and procedures instead of addressing the root causes of their illnesses,” said ACLM President Cate Collings, MD. “ACLM’s new directory … is a useful resource to help connect patients to clinicians who are recognized for achieving a high competency at prescribing and supporting evidence-based, lifestyle behavior interventions.”

Since the first lifestyle medicine certification exam was held in 2017, the number of certified practitioners has grown to 2,004 physicians and 778 nonphysician health professionals. Certification signifies that clinicians completed a minimum of 30 hours of lifestyle medicine continuing education (CE/CME), gathered at least 10 hours of in-person CE/CME from a lifestyle medicine conference and passed rigorous certification exams.