Pakistan’s First Lifestyle Medicine conference was organised by Dr. Shagufta Feroz and her team on 2nd December, 2018 at PC Lahore, in the collaboration with Harvard Institute of Lifestyle Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance.
The main objective of the conference was “to educate public, doctors and public representatives about the preventive and therapeutic role of emerging lifestyle Medicine.” The theme of the conference was to highlight the Lifestyle Medicine as the new speciality of allopathic medicine, with the slogan of “ positive side effects”. Which treats the root cause of the disease by prescribing correct nutrition, physical activity, healthy sleep and stress management.
There was a pre- conference workshop for a group of about people belonging to medical, business, nutrition and various healthcare segments. Same day Dr. Hans, Dr. Margarete and Dr. Shagufta spoke on FM radio about the importance of lifestyle medicine.
Next day Conference was from 9-5pm with speakers from different specialities. Results of an original 3-months study conducted on the youth lifestyle of a university was an eye opener.
Dr . Hans A Diehl was the first keynote speaker, who is Professor of preventive Medicine LomaLinda university school of Medicine USA, he is founder of lifestyle medicine institute and CHIP, USA. He expressed his views on the topic “Forks and Knives : Weapons of Mass Destruction, or instruments of Hope ,Health and Healing”.
Dr Hans warned that western diseases are becoming global because western lifestyle and food is being adopted by the people all over the world.
He presented Pakistan’s health statistics; according to the report 800,000 deaths per year are due to Non communicable diseases . 40,000 deaths are caused by breast cancer . Death due to breast cancer and diabetes in Pakistan are highest for any south Asian country. With the reference to the WHO report “two third of all disease worldwide is the result of lifestyle choices .” Simple solution was quoted, “ changing the food you eat is the single most powerful lifestyle change you can make to restore your health”
According to his analysis, shift in food choices is directly correlated with the rise of non communicable diseases .In the USA in 1928 it was difficult to find heart attack but now 3000 deaths per day are caused by heart disease. Diabetes trend in 20 years has increased by 300% . He declared that it is not a change in the “genes of the families “ but “family food recipes “are cause of chronic disease epidemic .
He advised , we must go back to the “Master Designer’s “ created food and native food. Fruits, vegetables, lentils, whole grains, legumes, nuts etc. Self regulation, responsibility, education and inspiration is needed to change the culture.
He warned that people are in the “false sense of security “ about gaining health from Medical treatment and medicine .
Dr. Margaret’s Ezinwa was the 2nd keynote speaker . Her presentation was on “Lifestyle Medicine the only sustainable solution to the pandemic of non communicable disease”. She is MD,MPH-USA,Director of Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance, currently she is the Assistant Professor in Preventive and Family Medicine at Loma Linda University California, USA
She stated that no doubt high income countries also have non communicable disease epidemic. but low and middle income countries are “ double burdened “ due to the epidemic of chronic as well as infectious disease such as Ebola , typhoid , HIV and cholera etc.
She told that there is the condition of “under nutrition and malnutrition” because of “calorie rich and nutrient poor diet “ “People are fed by the food industry which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry which pays no attention to food.”
She claimed that If we all turn towards whole food plant based diet we can reverse the situation. Green house gas production can be reduced to 70%. Lifestyle medicine should be the “first treatment option “ , as it provides “health assistance “ and “natural treatment “. She talked about “obesity epidemic “ and increasing average weight for women. She advised to work on self , family , community and” planetary health.”
She said that Lifestyle movement is not a “high profit movement “nor a “million dollar industry “is involved in it. So only passionate physicians and clinicians can work in groups to multiply to bring change. She told how the Global Alliance was formed three years ago and how it grew from 4 to 42 countries of different continents.
Other speakers talked about role of physical activity in health, role of lifestyle in prevalence of Diabetes in Pakistan, importance of microbiome in health, and details about Dr Shagufta Feroz’s personalised lifestyle modification program. Dr. Shagufta Feroz talked about the Happiness Science. Intermittent short sessions of exercise were conducted after every 30-60 minutes, there were about 250 guests participants.
Chancellor of a renowned university offered research grant and showed interest in starting Lifestyle Medicine Department at various levels for medical students and doctors. Guests were served with whole foods plant based meals.