Lifestyle Medicine - a response to the NCD crisis

, by Paul Wood


According to the NCD Alliance 41 million people die from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) globally every year with the majority of these being preventable. An estimated two thirds of these deaths are connected to unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and tobacco use. In response to this the NCD Alliance is calling for an integrated approach to addressing this problem as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We believe that the promotion of lifestyle medicine can be a key part of this integrated approach.

The rapidly growing number of lifestyle medicine societies globally is being fuelled by an interest among health professionals to do something tangible in preventing unnecessary deaths due to NCDs. Diseases attributable to our changing lifestyles need lifestyle-based solutions. With this in mind the South Pacific Society of Lifestyle Medicine (SPSLM) is working towards becoming a sister organisation of the rapidly growing Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance (LMGA). The SPSLM will then become a part of a global team of organisations working towards addressing the burden of NCDs in their particular regions.

Lifestyle medicine has much to offer patients, health care professionals, governments and society as an evidence-based discipline that promises demonstrable reductions in mortality, morbidity and money spent on health care with lifestyle-based interventions. The need to pursue such an approach is becoming increasingly imperative with the growing financial strain and social impact that NCDs are having in island nations of the South Pacific. 

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