Embrace healthy lifestyle to manage stress, physicians counsel Nigerians

Physicians under the aegis of the Society for Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria have called for the adoption of a healthy lifestyle therapy to manage stress and stem the rise of non-communicable diseases.

Lifestyle medicine is a branch of evidence-based healthcare that emphasises disease prevention over curative medicine.

This statement was made known recently by the President of SOLONG, Dr Moyosore Makinde, during a press conference in preparation for the fifth edition of its Annual International Scientific Conference, on Thursday and Friday in Lagos.

She said, “People know what to do but they don’t know how to translate it to practical habitual methods. Lifestyle medicine helps intervene in lifestyle-related conditions such as high cholesterol levels, breast cancer, colon cancer, and cancer.

“For lifestyle medicine practitioners, our cardinal advice to the public is healthy eating, regular physical exercises, restorative sleep, stress management, positive psychology, and good social connectedness among individuals.”

Makinde decried the increasing rate of drug abuse caused by mental stress, stating that “a lot of our youths are into substance abuse to keep themselves active, escape depression and subvert stress.

“At least 14.4 per cent of individuals between the ages of 15 to 55 use substances according to the World Health Organisation. Healthy stress management techniques must be introduced to stem the tide of drug-addled people on our streets.”

The pharmacist cum family physician further emphasised that the lack of adequate sleep and exercise, poor food consumption, dietary habits and social interaction increased stress levels, contributed to obesity, deepened the health crisis, and caused sexual tensions among couples leading to disharmony, lack of cooperation, separation and divorce.

Makinde also urged men to desist from excessive alcohol consumption and sedentary lifestyles.

She said, “Studies have also shown that women have better healthy lifestyle habits than men. Men need to adopt better healthy-seeking behaviours that will help them remain sexually active, live longer and remain healthy for many years.”

The doctor recommended six to eight hours of sleep, the consumption of whole grain meals, fruits and vegetables, exercises, and the cultivation of physical friendships and family time instead of long virtual interactions.

Also, a public health physician, Dr Uchenna Anekwuonye, stated that lifestyle interventions did not sabotage orthodox medicine, rather it used supplements, exercise routines, and dietary advice to proffer healing to diseases and help patients maintain a habit that would allow the body to activate a self-healing process.

Also, the Local Organising Committee Chairman of the conference, Dr Chinasa Amadi, stated that Nigeria spearheaded lifestyle medicine in Africa, with South Africa, Egypt, and Rwanda following its trail.


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