In 2017, poor diet accounted for one in five, or 11 million, adult deaths.
“This statistic may shock many people. By improving nutrition, the breadth of conditions that could be prevented is huge. For example, evidence indicates between 46-86 per cent of type 2 diabetes is reversible with lifestyle approaches,” Dr Manger says.
“The evidence is clear, by attending to the roots of health, lifestyle as medicine plays a vital role in the health and wellbeing of every person and community on the planet.”
The number of Australians who have chronic health conditions is also increasing.
“It’s something we all need to be concerned about,” Dr Manger says. “The good news is that when we start looking at the lifestyle and social determinants of our patients, we treat the cause, not just the symptoms.”
Engaging patients as partners in their own treatment is a core element of Lifestyle Medicine and requires a multi-disciplinary approach to health care. Lifestyle Medicine students at JCU learn to apply theories in psychological, medical, nutritional and addiction science in a variety of health contexts with a wide range of electives in public health including health economics.
Dr Jill Gamberg, Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, GP with a Masters in coaching psychology and JCU Lifestyle Medicine lecturer, has observed the rise in the adoption of lifestyle changes as medicine.
“The more that health care professionals gain formal qualifications, the more Lifestyle Medicine becomes public knowledge and an accepted part of medical care, rather than an adjunct. By delivering programs such as JCU’s Lifestyle Medicine courses, we can continue to integrate whole of person solutions and improve the health of communities,” said Dr Gamberg.
How does Lifestyle Medicine help with mental health?
Felice Jacka OAM is Professor of Nutritional Psychiatry, Director of the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University, Adjunct Professor at James Cook University and founder and president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR). Recognised globally for her work, Professor Jacka is an Honorary ASLM Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine and blends this expertise with psychiatry in her career.