June 3, 2021, 2:44 p.m. Michael Devitt — From recommending changes in diet and exercise levels to promoting stress management and other aspects of self-care, lifestyle medicine is an integral practice component for many family physicians. For several years, in fact, the Academy’s lifestyle medicine member interest group has provided members with an online community where they can network, share practice tips and work together to improve patient health.
Now, a new series of lifestyle medicine resources is available for AAFP members courtesy of a grant from the Ardmore Institute of Health. The first two items — a free online CME program titled “Incorporating Lifestyle Medicine Into Everyday Practice” and an accompanying lifestyle medicine implementation guide of the same name — were recently published on AAFP.org and provide members with clinically relevant information on the topic, along with the opportunity to earn CME credits in the process.
“Lifestyle medicine is foundational to improving the health and well-being of all patients,” said Jonathan Bonnet, M.D., M.P.H., C.A.Q.S.M., who served as an author and advisor on the project. “When dosed appropriately, it’s one of the most efficacious treatments we have to prevent, treat and reverse chronic disease. It’s suitable for all ages and can be made accessible to everyone.”
The online CME session takes approximately 60 minutes to complete, and is co-hosted by Bonnet and Polina Sayess, M.D., a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine in Hanover, N.H. Upon completion, participants should be able to
Participants who watch the session can earn 1 AAFP Prescribed credit. Individuals will also have the opportunity to earn up to 2 additional Prescribed credits for completing Translation to Practice® exercises that will be shared within the activity.
The implementation guide is divided into six sections, each covering a different aspect of lifestyle medicine. Topics include a general overview of the lifestyle medicine framework, ways to incorporate lifestyle medicine into practice, lifestyle medicine assessment tools, and reimbursement and coding. The sections are supplemented by an extensive reference list and numerous figures and tables, including one table that provides links to six assessment tools.
Members can also utilize six accompanying handouts to address these topics in greater detail. They include:
“The guide was designed to provide actionable tools and resources for physicians to begin incorporating lifestyle medicine principles with patients right now,” said Bonnet. “Whether you are familiar with lifestyle medicine or this is something new to you, there are a variety of options available to fit your needs and practice style.”
Kevin Kovach, Dr.P.H., M.Sc., senior manager of population and community health in the Academy’s Division of Health of the Public and Science, told AAFP News that the new materials were based on the results of a survey of AAFP members on lifestyle medicine.
“While the family physicians we surveyed felt the principles of lifestyle medicine were important, it was clear that there were gaps in how it was implemented within their office,” Kovach said. “The toolkit and the CME program provide guidance on both the technical skills of lifestyle medicine and the necessary soft skills to incorporate changes into everyday practice.
“Although these new materials focused on aspects of lifestyle medicine within the clinical setting, future resources should connect the social determinants of health to lifestyle medicine,” Kovach added. “Addressing the impact of conditions like poverty and access to adequate healthy food and environment were found by most physicians to be important, but there remain larger gaps for those who were able to incorporate this into their work.”
The new materials are among several items accessible to members on the Academy’s Healthy Lifestyle webpage. Additional resources will be published as they become available.