The purpose of this guideline is to provide a framework in the development of education and training in lifestyle medicine in the medical school and in the medical postgraduate training.
The main purpose is to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the area of prevention and treatment of lifestyle-related (chronic) diseases (non-communicable diseases) by appealing to lifestyle medicine.
The European Lifestyle Medicine Organization (ELMO) will take the responsibility for developing this guideline based on the experience of its members who are professionals in the area of primary care, academia, nutrition, internal medicine and health management.
ELMO was recently launched at European level as the new academic medical society, so as to support the new initiative of an evidence-based lifestyle intervention that promotes self-management for well-being, prevention of illnesses, and management of chronic diseases.
The guideline was developed in response to a perceived need based on three types of evidence in medicine: an increased interest among physicians to adopt a different approach in treating chronic diseases; an increase in literature in the last years related to the relationship between lifestyle and certain chronic diseases; and a growing consensus of different «classical» medical specialties on the importance of lifestyle choices in the prevention and development of certain chronic diseases.
The guideline content set forth in this document is voluntary, not mandatory; it gives aspirational teaching and learning objectives, not necessarily required standards. As such, they are intended to afford broad latitude for curriculum and continuing education program development in the new field of lifestyle medicine practice. The ultimate responsibility for matters of curriculum adaptation and pedagogy is that of the faculty in higher education institutions and programs. Even if the curriculum developed by The European Lifestyle Medicine Organization (ELMO) will be an evidence-based one, the guideline is not intended to take precedence over the judgment of faculty or of the academic authority responsible for specific education and training programs.
The premise on which the need for this guideline is based is as follows: lifestyle interventions are utilized in some form by every physician at some point, but physicians properly trained in health promotion, dietetic counseling and exercise physiology, to name just a few of lifestyle medicine tools, will be more effective in achieving an optimal treatment and management of chronic diseases.
While there are already medical specialists involved in management of NCDs such as epidemiologists, public health specialists and internal medicine (primary care) specialists, there is a strong need to adopt a new approach in treating NCDs that are lifestyle related.
Lifestyle medicine also differs, even if there are overlaps, from other aligned fields in medicine, such as preventive medicine, individualized or personalized medicine, and integrative medicine.