Princeton Lifestyle Medicine

731 Alexander Road, Suite 201
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 655-3800 tel
(866) 912-7741 fax

(609) 655-3800 tel

Home > Lifestyle > Lifestyle vs Conventional

Lifestyle vs Conventional Medicine

Lifestyle Medicine Review

  • Similar to Alternative in that it can be an alternative treatment- as in the Ornish program for
    CAD, or a lifestyle approach to treating low back pain,hypertension, dyslipidemia, etc
  • Similar to Integrative in that there is evidence to support its use with conventional medicine for many conditions, and it is integrated into conventional medicine
  • Similar to Preventive in the attention to good health habits, the role of lifestyle behaviors in controlling disease, and the application to every person

Differences between LM approach and the others:

  • Seems to fit between alternative medicine and conventional medicine.It is more specific (i.e., prescniptive) in 1ts use of lifestyle interventions
  • Stronger evidence base than most alternative therapies
  • Includes fewer treatment options: does not include the vast array of therapies that are used in alternative therapy
  • It is not used in place of conventional medicine as is alternative medicine
  • Some aspect of LM is almost always appropriate with conventional treatment
  • LM does not include the screening, immunizations, and preventive medical therapies that are part of preventive medicine
  • Better defined than integrative or functional medicine; the interventions that make up these  approaches are not specific; these approaches seem more nebulous

Unique role of Lifestyle  Medicine:

  • Strict focus on lifestyle behaviors. Success depends on patient motivation. Must include motivational coaching. Applies to every practice, every patient.
  • Emphasizes the use of a collaborative care model.
  • Limited number of intervention approaches- more conducive to staff training
  • Involves more prescriptive lifestyle interventions for specific diseases or risk conditions
  • Recommended in many national guidelines for use in both prevention and treatment
  • The inclusion of motivational counseling in lifestyle change, coaching patients to become more involved and responsible for their own outcomes.


Differences Between Conventional and Lifestyle Medicine



Treats individual risk factors

Treats lifestyle causes

Patient is often passive recipient of care

Patient is active partner in care

Patient is instructed to make changes

Patient is supported and encouraged to make changes

Treatment is often short term

Treatment is always long term

Responsibility falls on patient to follow doctors orders

Collaborative partnership between doctor and patient to facilitate lifestyle change

Medication is often the "end" treatment

Medication may be needed but as an adjunct to lifestyle change

Emphasis is on diagnosis and prescription

Emphasis is on root cause of diagnosis

Goal is disease management

Goal is primary, secondary and tertiary disease prevention

Little consideration of the environment

Consideration of the environment

Side effects are balanced by the benefits

No side effects to positive lifestyle changes

Referral to other medical specialties

Referral to allied health professionals as well

Doctor generally operates independently on a one-to-one basis

Doctor is coordinator of a team of health professionals


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