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Lifestyle vs. Medical Care: What Matters More?

inHealth | July 15, 2020
Millions of Americans are affected by chronic disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 80 percent of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes diagnoses could be prevented if major health risk factors were eliminated. These risk factors include poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol use.

What do these major risk factors have in common? They all have to do with one’s lifestyle. Lifestyle choices have a significant influence on the overall health of an individual and if better choices are implemented, these risk factors can be managed and improved. Ultimately, chronic disease can be avoided by following lifestyle treatment plan.

Half of Our Overall Health is Tied to Lifestyle 

There are four areas that impact a person’s overall health: medical care, environment, genetics, and lifestyle. But what is less known is the outsize impact lifestyle has on a person’s health when compared to these other three factors. In fact, according to the WHO, lifestyle accounts for fifty percent of a person’s health:  

  • Medical Care: 10% 
  • Genetics: 20% 
  • Environment: 20% 
  • Lifestyle: 50% 

While the American healthcare system is highly focused on diagnosing and treating disease, medical care is not as impactful as genetics, environment and lifestyle. And unlike genetics and environment, lifestyle is something patients can control.  

Lifestyle is the way in which a person or group lives and is defined by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) as “the characteristics of [an individual]. It includes day to day behaviors and functions of individuals in job, activities, fun and diet.” Lifestyle choices made daily have the biggest impact on overall health. 

How inHealth’s Clinical Health Coaches Treat Lifestyle 

Our patients typically have a BMI of 30 or greater and may be living with multiple chronic conditions. Taking the patient’s conditions into consideration for treatment is essential, however, our coaches will approach treatment by focusing on lifestyle first. At inHealth, our coaches walk through the patient’s lifestyle choices and how if better choices around nutrition, physical activity, alcohol and tobacco use could improve, there is potential for life-long, positive outcomes. 

Our coaches take all major risk factors of health into consideration when curating these plans and specialize in helping patients improve their nutrition and physical activity choices. By implementing change to the patient’s lifestyle, these major risk factors also begin to improve. For example, a patient has a health goal to gain more energy to spend with family. By focusing on this goal, the patient adopts “energy boosting” habits, such as eating superfoods and going to sleep on a consistent schedule. As the patient works toward this goal, their chronic disease symptoms improve as well.  

While our patients’ health goals are the starting point for treatment, our clinical health coaches have a foundation for care that breaks down lifestyle. This foundation is based on a seven-pillar framework that includes all aspects of a person’s health and life: 

  • Nutrition and Vitality 
  • Fitness and Movement 
  • Mental and Emotional Well-Being 
  • Social Connection 
  • Environment 
  • Purpose 
  • Spiritual Alignment 


Treating Lifestyle as Medical Care 

With a goal of reversing chronic disease and improving unhealthy lifestyle choices in our patients, we work towards a healthier future. By treating lifestyle as medicine, our patients can reach successful, life-long health outcomes that improve their risk factors for chronic disease and overall quality of life. 

Lifestyle choices are within every individual’s control. Our clinical health coaches at inHealth Lifestyle Therapeutics can help you and your patients by implementing better lifestyle choices that will lead to healthier lives. 

How to Get Started as a Provider