American College of Lifestyle Medicine Announces Global Lifestyle Medicine Week Campaign May 24-May 31 to Highlight Urgent Need for Healthier Lifestyle

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The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) today announced the second annual Global Lifestyle Medicine Week, with the observance this year slated to run from May 24th to May 31st. The week will highlight the benefits of evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine therapeutic approaches to treat and reverse chronic disease, thereby restoring and optimizing health.

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"What the world really needs now is health restoration."

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) today announced the second annual Global Lifestyle Medicine Week, with the observance this year slated to run from May 24th to May 31st. The week will showcase the health pillars of the field, serving as a public awareness campaign to highlight the benefits of evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine therapeutic approaches, including a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, avoiding use of risky substances, and social connectedness, to treat, reverse and prevent chronic disease, thereby restoring and optimizing health.

Chronic disease, rooted in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, is the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., having reached epidemic proportions. Sixty percent (60%) of American adults now live with at least one chronic condition, while forty-two percent (42%) have more than one. Chronic disease now accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars in health care spending every year, representing as much as eighty-six percent (86%) of all health care expenditures.

Non-communicable, chronic disease is a looming pandemic worldwide, not just in the U.S. Case in point, the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation's 2019 Global Burden of Disease Report, reviewing data from nearly 200 counties, found that it is what people are and are not eating that's the leading cause of disease and death in the U.S. and around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancer could be prevented, primarily with improvements to diet and lifestyle.

“We’ve all heard the lyrics to the song, ‘What the world needs now is love,’ which is true,” said ACLM Executive Director Susan Benigas. “What the world really needs now is health restoration. We need a loud wake-up call regarding the state of our health, individually and collectively. We need a nation and world filled with Lifestyle Medicine trained and certified medical professionals who will educate, equip and empower patients to treat and, oftentimes, even reverse their chronic conditions through evidence-based lifestyle behavior modification.”

For many years, ACLM has been sounding the alarm regarding the continued upward trajectory of chronic disease and its unsustainable associated costs, although the intersection of chronic disease and our current COVID-19 pandemic is amplifying the urgency of the message. Data show that a majority of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had one or more underlying health conditions. Studies from the CDC and others suggest that, once infected with the coronavirus, people with such conditions are at particular risk for severe illness, including hospitalization and death.

"We’ve been hearing reports day after day that those who are most vulnerable are those with compromised immunity resulting from underlying conditions, most of which are lifestyle-related chronic diseases, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and others,” Benigas said. “This emphasizes that the time is now—more than ever before—for Lifestyle Medicine to become the foundation of health and all health care.”

Celebrating its 16th year as the only medical professional society in the U.S. dedicated to the field of Lifestyle Medicine, ACLM is experiencing exponential growth, with a membership of more than 4,000 physicians and other health professionals dedicated to clinical and worksite practice of Lifestyle Medicine, which is synonymous with value-based care: reining in costs, while delivering far superior patient outcomes. Interest in Lifestyle Medicine is growing rapidly among physicians and other health professionals desiring to treat root-causes of disease—an approach most did not learn in medical school or in other health care-related training. Medical professionals, patients and those on Capitol Hill are awakening to the unsustainable prevalence of chronic disease and the associated costs that stand to jeopardize the solvency and security of our nation.

Internationally, Lifestyle Medicine medical professional associations are emerging on every continent, as the world is awakening to the urgent need to treat the root causes of non-communicable disease, including the looming global pandemic of type 2 diabetes. Some 20, and growing, Lifestyle Medicine organizations are now represented by the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance.

The Lifestyle Medicine physician has been recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges as one of the top five emerging medical careers. Board certification is also available. ACLM partners with the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine to provide physician and professional board certification. Since 2017 in the U.S., 761 MD/DO physicians have received board certification and 296 PhD/master’s level clinicians and bachelor-level nurses have received professional certification. Certification in the field outside the U.S. is offered through the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF LIFESTYLE MEDICINE: ACLM is the medical professional society for those dedicated to the advancement and clinical practice of Lifestyle Medicine as the foundation of a transformed and sustainable health care system. Lifestyle Medicine is the use of a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connection as a primary therapeutic modality for treatment and reversal of chronic disease.

More than a professional association, ACLM is a galvanized force for change. ACLM addresses the need for quality education and certification, supporting its members in their individual practices and in their collective mission to domestically and globally promote Lifestyle Medicine as the first treatment option, as opposed to a first option of treating symptoms and consequences with expensive, ever increasing quantities of pills and procedures. ACLM members are united in their desire to identify and eradicate the root cause of disease, with health restoration as the desired outcome. Learn more at [http://www.LifestyleMedicine.org.

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