Lifestyle-related diseases are a major and growing problem with enormous consequences, both social and economic. To date, treatment of lifestyle-related diseases has mainly focused on medication to treat the symptoms of a disease without addressing the underlying causes – an unhealthy lifestyle, induced by an unhealthy environment. In the Netherlands, we’re finding increasing evidence that lifestyle interventions have the potential to bring diseases into remission and make medication wholly or partially unnecessary. But this is still not being applied sufficiently in Dutch healthcare practice. In many cases, there’s still a lack of scientific evidence and findings that are substantiated still aren’t sufficiently applied. All partners of the Lifestyle4Health platform believe that lifestyle medicine deserves a prominent place in medical research, education, and treatment of lifestyle-related diseases, and they’re committed to achieving this.
Who are we?
Lifestyle4Health is the Netherlands Innovation Center for Lifestyle Medicine. It was established on 3 July 2018 at the initiative of TNO (the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research) and LUMC (the Leiden University Medical Centre). From the outset, the founding partners have aimed to make self-management of health and lifestyle interventions a central building block of tomorrow’s Dutch healthcare. The Netherlands Innovation Center for Lifestyle Medicine is an open, national and international platform that connects, coordinates, and increases impact, under the name Lifestyle4Health. Any organisation that is willing and able to help achieve the aims can join.
To find out more about the potential of lifestyle medicine based on the Dutch situation, please read the manifesto for Lifestyle Medicine: a prerequisite for fundamental change in healthcare and costs.
Lifestyle4Health’s mission is to halve the disease burden of lifestyle-related diseases over the next 10 years. To harness the potential of lifestyle medicine, we have to transform care for illness into self-care and control over one’s own health. Lifestyle medicine starts with an environment that helps both patients and non-patients take and maintain control over their own health, 365 days a year. This calls for a transformation in healthcare, in business, among patients/citizens, and in health and well-being policy. In short, from “care” to “cure”, and from consulting room to living room.
To achieve our mission, we’re working on:
- scientifically proven lifestyle interventions as part of disease remission and treatment
- innovations that enable people to control the reversal of their disease and their health in their own context, according to their wishes and abilities
- sharing knowledge and skills based on scientific research.
In doing so, we’re working towards new revenue models in a new health economy and bundling all forces and initiatives in the Netherlands and Europe.
Lifestyle medicine is multidisciplinary. The key components for achieving our mission are:
- knowledge and understanding of biological mechanisms of remission of lifestyle-related diseases
- sustainable behavioural change in people’s own contexts
- learning from citizen-owned personal health data for self-care
- Re-mission labs: achieving remission and transition of care in practice.
Each component has a specific programme line with research and other projects in which we collaborate with our partners based on a common research agenda. The agenda and the projects are drawn up and implemented by a national coalition of parties (knowledge institutions, healthcare providers, the business community, governments, and patient organisations/citizens). Public-private partnerships form the core of this. Our first areas are type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We also explore the field of mental illness.
In addition to research projects aimed at specific substantive components, we work in a separate programme line on large-scale remission and transition of care in our Re-mission labs. These are regional and national multidisciplinary collaborations directly aimed at halving the disease burden of patients/citizens. More information is available in Dutch.