Consider the Data:

  • Chronic disease rates are rising and the cost to treat them, if not reversed, stands to bankrupt our nation.
  • Chronic disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. Rates of chronic disease have never been higher, with cost of chronic conditions—rooted in poor lifestyle choices– eating up 86% of all health care dollars spent.1
  • Chronic disease is so common that more than half of U.S. adults have at least one condition.2
  • 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.3
  • The WHO has said that the next global pandemic is non-communicable disease, defined as a medical condition or disease that is not caused by infectious agents. Non-communicable disease refers to chronic diseases, many of which are lifestyle-related.
  • The U.S. spends at least 18% of its GDP ($3.35 trillion) on health expenditures.4
  • The Federal Congressional Budget Office estimates that if costs continue to rise, by 2050 Medicare and Medicaid alone will account for 20% of the GDP.5
  • Employers foot a hefty bill for the cost of chronic disease. The top five chronic conditions (obesity, hypertension, physical inactivity, smoking and diabetes) annually cost $36.4 billion to the bottom line.6
  • Employees with chronic conditions miss more work days than those without.7
  • In 2017, 24.7 million had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 9.7% of the adult population–a 14-fold increase since 1958. Today some 84 million are pre-diabetic.8
  • In terms of type 2 diabetes alone, in 2017 the American Diabetes Association reports the annual cost of diagnosed diabetes is estimated at $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in decreased productivity.9
  • All projections point to continued rises in chronic disease. The solvency of our nation is at stake.

The average physician and health care professional receives less than 6 hours of Lifestyle Medicine education during their medical school attendance!

Help us to address this glaring educational gap!

More Support from Recent News – 2019

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation issued this press release about the recently published Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), featuring a video of Lancet Editor Richard Horton speaking about what he calls the “blockbuster study.”  His passionate words are a call to action that medical education MUST lead the way in addressing what is now, indisputably, the leading disease risk factor: what people ARE and ARE NOT eating.This report, published in The Lancet, is the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study to date. It describes mortality and morbidity from major diseases, injuries and risk factors to health at global, national and regional levels. The study shows that poor diet is the leading risk factor for deaths in the majority of countries of the world: Unhealthy diets are a larger determinant of ill health than either tobacco or high blood pressure.  

In recent surveys, physicians indicated that they received, on average, three hours (180 minutes) of clinical nutrition training as part of their medical school education.  In light of this reality, Drs. Walter Willett, Stephen Devries and Robert Bonow recently authored this “Viewpoint” article in the April 9 issue of JAMA. The authors, all supporters of this campaign, emphasize that requirements for meaningful nutrition education in all phases of medical training are long overdue, stating that medical education should match the interest in nutrition among patients and physicians with more action.(NOTE: We may need to get the PDF from Walter that we can upload and link to.)
And, lastly, research published in PLOS Medicine indicates that incentivizing healthy foods could save Medicare and Medicaid more than $100 billion. While this speaks to government subsidies, it reinforces the need for physicians and allied health professionals to become expert in using food as medicine–something that, currently, is sorely lacking or even non-existent in medical school education.

Your support of this campaign will ensure that Lifestyle Medicine becomes fully integrated in medical education.  The time is NOW to take action!  Make a tax-deductible donation in support of this health and health-education transforming initiative!

1Gerteis J, Izrael D, Deitz D, et al. Multiple chronic conditions chartbook. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2014. In: AHRQ Publications; 2014.

2 Buttorff C, Ruder T, Bauman M. Multiple chronic conditions in the United States. Santa Monica (CA): Rand Corporation. 2017.

3 Accessed October 2, 2018.

4Services CfMaM. National Health Expenditures 2016 Highlights. 2018; Accessed August 8, 2018. 

5Orszag PR, Ellis P. The challenge of rising health care costs-a view from the Congressional Budget Office. N Engl J Med.2007; 357(18):1793.

6al. Ace. Checkup Time: Chronic Disease and Wellness in America. 2014; Checkup-Time-Chronic-Disease-and-Wellness-in-America.pdf  Accessed May 5, 2018.

7Asay GRB, Roy K, Lang JE, Payne RL, Howard DH. Peer reviewed: absenteeism and employer costs associated with chronic diseases and health risk factors in the US workforce. Prev Chronic Dis. 2016;13.

8Control CfD, Prevention. National diabetes statistics report, 2017. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017

9 Accessed February 5, 2019.