Background/Purpose: It is well known that healthy lifestyle habits can influence chronic disease risk and outcomes. The effective practice of Lifestyle Medicine (LM), however, goes beyond general recommendations and has been encapsulated in well-defined clinical competencies. While it has been documented that graduating medical students feel inadequately prepared to counsel patients in nutrition and exercise, the purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions and experiences of Lifestyle Medicine in a group of interdisciplinary healthcare trainees. Methods: A pilot survey of trainees at the 2015 Annual American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference assessed perspectives on the inclusion of nutrition and exercise in their educational curricula, knowledge of core LM competencies and personal health habits. Results: Of the 37 trainees registered, 22 surveys were completed. Twenty-six percent indicated they were exposed to courses in exercise; sixty-five percent reported having a nutrition block and fifty percent received instruction on counseling about LM behaviors. Relative importance using Likert scale (1-not important, 5-very important) ascribed similar levels of importance to exercise (4.44), nutrition (4.31), and behavioral counseling (4.58) training. Ninety-five percent reported personal engagement in physical activity, however only forty-two percent were familiar with the Lifestyle Medicine core competencies. Ninety-four percent indicated that the current medical model was insufficient in educating trainees to address lifestyle related diseases. Conclusion: In a select multidisciplinary sample of trainees, there is recognition of the importance of Lifestyle Medicine training. Although trainees surveyed practice healthful behaviors, the majority were not familiar with core Lifestyle Medicine competences and express strong interest in increased Lifestyle Medicine in their training experience.
Clarke CA, Bonnet JP, Gail Davis M, Frates EP. Lifestyle Medicine Professionals in Training: A Survey of Behaviors, Knowledge and Needs. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2017 Oct 09;15(4), Article 11.