Core Competencies of Lifestyle Medicine

The following core competencies of lifestyle medicine were identified in "Physician Competencies for Prescribing Lifestyle Medicine" (JAMA, 2010, 304(2):202-203) and are incorporated in the Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program offered online for doctors, allied health professionals, students and residents.


  • Promote healthy behaviors as foundational to medical care, disease prevention, and health promotion.
  • Seek to practice healthy behaviors and create school, work, and home environments that support healthy behaviors.


  • Demonstrate knowledge of the evidence that specific lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on patients’ health outcomes.
  • Describe ways that physician engagement with patients and families can have a positive effect on patients’ health behaviors.

Assessment Skills

  • Assess the social, psychological, and biological predispositions of patients’ behaviors and the resulting health outcomes.
  • Assess patient and family readiness, willingness, and ability to make health behavior changes.
  • Perform a history and physical examination specific to lifestyle-related health status, including lifestyle "vital signs" such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity, body mass index, stress level, sleep, and emotional well-being. Based on this assessment, obtain and interpret appropriate tests to screen, diagnose, and monitor lifestyle-related diseases.

Management Skills

  • Use nationally recognized practice guidelines (such as those for hypertension and smoking cessation) to assist patients in self-managing their health behaviors and lifestyles.
  • Establish effective relationships with patients and their families to effect and sustain behavioral change using evidence-based counseling methods and tools and follow-up.
  • Collaborate with patients and their families to develop evidence-based, achievable, specific, written action plans such as lifestyle prescriptions.
  • Help patients manage and sustain healthy lifestyle practices, and refer patients to other health care professionals as needed for lifestyle-related conditions.

Use of Office and Community Support

  • Have the ability to practice as an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals and support a team approach.
  • Develop and apply office systems and practices to support lifestyle medical care including decision support technology.
  • Measure processes and outcomes to improve quality of lifestyle interventions in individuals and groups of patients.
  • Use appropriate community referral resources that support the implementation of healthy lifestyles.
Membership Software Powered by®  ::  Legal