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What is Lifestyle Medicine and how do you become certified in this field?

Lifestyle medicine uses evidenced based lifestyle therapeutic interventions to prevent, treat, and at times reverse chronic disease. It is founded on traditional medicine, but focuses on whole-food predominately plant based eating, physical activity, restful sleep, stress management, and positive social connection. It also emphasizes avoidance of risky substance use, such as alcohol and tobacco. It is delivered by clinicians trained in this specialty.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80% of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancer could be prevented, primarily with improvements to diet and lifestyle.


This is how lifestyle medicine can help.

Most medical students, nurses, physician assistants, and physicians do not receive adequate training about lifestyle medicine, nutrition, and physical activity. This needs to change. In order to empower our patients (and ourselves) it is important to improve health through counseling on these core lifestyle values.

For physicians here is what you need to know to become board certified in Lifestyle Medicine (from the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine website)

1. Experiential Pathway (for current American board of medical specialties certified physicians)

  • You must be board-certified by a medical specialty board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) for US based physicians

  • You must be certified and registered to practice if you are a Canadian physician

  • You must have been primary board certified (USA) and practicing medicine for at least 2 years before being able to register for the ABLM exam

2. Educational Pathway (for residents)

  • You must complete the Lifestyle Medicine Residency Curriculum through a residency site. Click for a current list of sites.

  • Please note that while you can sit for your ABLM exam after your residency, your certification will only be issued after you successfully passed your primary board exam.

So how does this apply to eye health, ophthalmology, and optometry? Subscribe to get up to date information for when the next blog post on this topic is available!

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