The Importance of Healthy Living and Defining Lifestyle Medicine

  • Robert F. KushnerEmail author
  • Jeffrey I. Mechanick


Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are a primary source of the global burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCD) and account for about 63 % of all deaths. Over the past several years, there has been an increased interest in evaluating the benefit of adhering to ‘low-risk lifestyle’ behaviors and ideal ‘cardiovascular health metrics.’ Although a healthy lifestyle has repeatedly been shown to improve mortality, the population prevalence of healthy living remains low. Lifestyle medicine is a new discipline that has recently emerged as a systematized approach for management of chronic disease. The practice of lifestyle medicine requires skills and competency in addressing multiple health-risk behaviors and improving self-management. This chapter focuses on the impact of a healthy lifestyle on chronic disease, the rarity of good health, and defining lifestyle medicine as a unique discipline.


Noncommunicable diseases Lifestyle medicine Prevention Risk factor reduction 



American Heart Association


Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study


Body mass index


Cardiovascular diseases


Disability-adjusted life year


Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension


Diabetes support and education


European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition


Intensive lifestyle-based weight loss intervention


Noncommunicable diseases


National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey


National Institutes of Health


Odd ratios


Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology


Sudden cardiac death


Type-2 diabetes


World Health Organization


Years lived with disabilities


Years of life lost


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northwestern Comprehensive Center on ObesityNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone DiseaseIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA

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