Saving money and resources by establishing lifestyle medicine departments in institutional settings
Current CDC statistics show that more than 2/3 of the US population is overweight or obese and 1 out of 2 African American, Hispanic and native American children are obese and overweight (1). That means that between 25 to 40% of today’s children will die of avoidable diseases and many more are dying of preventable diseases. An article on JAMA (2) reported that “Chronic disease is now the principal cause of disability and use of health services and consumes 78% of health expenditures.” Lifestyle medicine holds many of the answers to these worldwide epidemics and can contribute to dramatically decrease the cost of health care by preventing many chronic diseases. The challenge can be how can hospitals and institutions whose health care models have not adapted to the new paradigm make that transition. As the Ad Hoc Committee of Deans reported “The results of a number of well-conducted studies show that doctors fail on occasion to use diagnostic and therapeutic approaches of proven value … and do not always recommend health promotion and disease prevention practices of proven benefit.”(3) A feasible solution is to establish lifestyle medicine departments in already functioning hospitals, institutions and clinics. These departments are places where the patients will be referred and the lifestyle interventions can take place in order to educate, prevent, treat and follow up with these patients. The workshop (or plenary) will focus on currently functioning models of lifestyle medicine departments in hospital and institutional settings around the world, how they were established, how they were staffed, what were some of the hurdles, what have been the results and the economics and feasible reproduction of those models to other institutions. The speaker has personally worked, visited and helped with the establishment of some of those lifestyle medicine centers in Asia, America, Oceania and Europe. The establishment of these models could create a domino effect of real health care reform.
1-Datar, Ashlesha, and Nancy Nicosia. “Assessing social contagion in body mass index, overweight, and obesity using a natural experiment.” JAMA pediatrics 172.3 (2018): 239-246.
2-Holman, H., Chronic disease—the need for a new clinical education. JAMA, 292(9), pp.1057-1059.
3-Martin, J. B., et al. “Educating doctors to provide high quality medical care: a vision for medical education in the United States.” Washington, DC: Association of American Medical Colleges (2004).