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Health & Wellness

The "Lifestyle Medicine" Concept

Since its introduction over twenty years ago, a “Lifestyle Medicine” movement has grown through the leadership of organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine, the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching.

Lifestyle Medicine involves the therapeutic use of lifestyle, such as a predominately whole food, plant-based diet, exercise, stress management, tobacco and alcohol cessation, and other non-drug modalities, to prevent, treat, and, more importantly, reverse the lifestyle-related, chronic disease that's all too prevalent. 

Lifestyle Medicine is essential to sustainable health and healthcare.  The rise in chronic disease trends and related healthcare spending in the United State and in many other countries around the world is unsustainable. Type 2 diabetes alone is a looming global pandemic with incalculable consequences.  The good news is that 80% or more of all healthcare spending in the U.S. is tied to the treatment of conditions rooted in poor lifestyle choices. Chronic diseases and conditions—such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, multiple types of cancer—are among the most common, costly and preventable of all health conditions.

Health & Wellness Coaching Background

In partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners, the ICHWC offers national certification for Health & Wellness credential holders, which covers the component elements of its Scope of Practice:

Health & Wellness coaches work with individuals and groups in a client-centered process to facilitate and empower the client to develop and achieve self-determined goals related to health and wellness. Coaches support clients in mobilizing internal strengths and external resources, and in developing self-management strategies for making sustainable, healthy lifestyle, behavior changes. While health and wellness coaches per se do not diagnose conditions, prescribe treatments, or provide psychological therapeutic interventions, they may provide expert guidance in areas in which they hold active, nationally recognized credentials, and may offer resources from nationally recognized authorities such as those referenced in ICHWC’s healthy lifestyle curriculum. As partners and facilitators, health and wellness coaches support their clients in achieving health goals and behavioral change based on their clients’ own goals and consistent with treatment plans as prescribed by individual clients’ professional health care providers. Coaches assist clients to use their insight, personal strengths and resources, goal setting, action steps and accountability toward healthy lifestyle change.

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