The challenge

Australia, like other western countries, is in the midst of an epidemic of preventable and modifiable lifestyle-related illness.

Chronic conditions and their risk factors are now commonplace and are seen much earlier in life, even in childhood. Worse still, changes in our genes as a result of lifestyle choices can predispose us to conditions later in life and may be passed on to our children.

It’s surprisingly common for us to take medication to lower blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar without addressing the underlying causes of those conditions. And to accept being overweight, under-slept, stressed out and generally below par as ‘normal’.

Conditions and
risk factors that
may have lifestyle
causes include...
(flip over)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood sugar
  • Overweight & obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Lung diseases
  • Kidney disease
  • Some cancers
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoperosis
  • Dementia
  • and more…
  • If current trends continue, 3/4 of Australian adults and 1/3 of all children will be overweight or obese by 2020. The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer are on the rise, and with our ageing population, so is dementia.

    Our governments recognise the severity of the situation, and are urgently working to refocus the healthcare system on wellness, prevention, early intervention and self-management, but the scale of the challenge is enormous.

    There is only one thing to be done. And it’s at a individual level. We are each responsible for creating a healthier future for ourselves and for our families. But without structured assistance, it can seem the hardest thing to do.

    “We can’t solve problems by using
    the same kind of thinking
    we used when we created them.”

    Albert Einstein

    The initiative

    The Lifestyle Initiative offers an innovative real world approach to a western world problem.

    The initiative is a social enterprise to fund, develop, trial and launch a ground-breaking online ‘comprehensive lifestyle change’ program into our health system and into our everyday lives.

    It’s ground-breaking because the lifestyle change program combines the evidence about the psychology and clinical application of health behaviour change in a more comprehensive, holistic and technologically enabled way than has been attempted before. In short, we’re taking lifestyle change online and making it empowering, engaging and enjoyable.

    It’s innovative because the initiative is powered by the community using technology like social media and crowd funding. We believe that people want the tools to take charge of and improve their health and will help us make this happen.

    The program is being developed right now at the University of Western Sydney, funded by donations from individuals and companies, grants and partnerships, and with your help will be ready for beta-testing in 2015. In addition to funds, we need champions to volunteer their skills, to spread the word and beta-test the program when its ready.

    to a health & wellbeing
    transformation
    You set your own goals and priorities in a personalised, holistic, 12-week online health improvement program

    The Lifestyle Initiative is an initiative of the Lifestyle Medicine Foundation, a registered health promotion charity (donations are tax deductible), with the support of like-minded organisations, academics, researchers, public health professionals, doctors and allied health practitioners.

    Importantly, this initiative will address a major need in our healthcare system; providing a national, accessible, equitable, scalable and cost-effective lifestyle change program that operates in the social context of our everyday lives.

    What’s inside?

     

    Empowerment
    & self-efficacy
    Lifestyle change starts with self-empowerment to take charge of our health and enhancing self-efficacy to achieve our goals.
    Physical
    activity
    The more we sit, the shorter we live. Moving is the key. Walking, swimming, dancing, gardening, and perhaps even ‘exercise’.
    Diet &
    nutrition
    We think we have a ‘good diet’, but can easily fall short of the nutritional requirements for physical, mental and emotional health.
    Excesses &
    addictions
    Whether it’s sugar, salt and saturated fats, refined foods, smoking, or too much alcohol too often, its easy to get out of balance.
    Stress
    reduction
    Stress is part of life but in our society, it’s well off the scale and can result in low level inflammation and lower immune response.
    Environment
    & exposures
    Ensuring we get enough sunlight is as important as reducing exposure to toxins in food packaging and pollution.
    Sleep debt
    & quality
    Sleep debt is rife in our ‘always on’ society and linked to a range of health problems. Sleep disorders are also common.
    Psychological
    tools
    The program includes goal setting, reinforcement, readiness to change, positive psychology, happiness and self-esteem.
    Emotional
    resilience
    Resilience comes from effective coping mechanisms and techniques to manage emotional strain, frustration, pain, fatigue or isolation.
    Connectedness
    & community
    Humans thrive on social and community engagement, love and intimacy. Altruism (being of service) is also health enhancing.
    Meaning
    & purpose
    Connection with nature, culture and identity, and a sense of meaning and purpose are all important to health and well-being.
    Virtual peer
    group support
    It all happens in a flexible and engaging moderated small virtual peer group setting for active change and strong social support.

    “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

    Thomas A Edison

    Get involved

    Be part of something worthwhile, not only for yourself, but for your family, friends, workmates and the community. We need your support to make this happen.

    Not sure how you can help? Just enter your email address and we’ll keep you informed.

    You can also send us a message using this contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!