Feature Article

What’s the buzz around ‘lifestyle medicine’?

Garry Egger, HAMISH MELDRUM, Stephen Penman



A shift in prevalence from infectious to lifestyle-related chronic diseases in developed societies requires a modified approach to clinical management and health policy. The emerging practice of lifestyle medicine draws on existing strategies as well as developing new knowledge, skills, procedures and tools to help manage the modern tsunami of lifestyle-related chronic diseases. It bridges clinical practice and public health using a four-tiered, multisystem approach. 

Key Points

  • Lifestyle medicine extends current medical principles by striving to modify the behavioural, environmental and social determinants of lifestyle-related chronic disease rather than just the risk factors and symptoms of the disease.
  • Crucial to achieving this is establishing the determinants (‘cause of the causes’ or ‘upstream determinants’) of lifestyle-related disease as the first step in a four-tiered approach.
  • The remaining three steps involve: developing the skills required for clinical practice; using technology to assist behaviour change; and applying procedures that are specific to a lifestyle/environmental approach to care. 

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