They’re all around you: people suffering from, or at risk of developing, lifestyle-related chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease or arthritis. Perhaps you’re one of them. In fact, in the United States, these chronic diseases have reached epidemic proportions.
A therapeutic lifestyle changes program (TLC) teaches wellness habits such as healthier eating and regular physical activity, with the goal of achieving health that lasts a lifetime. TLC should not be confused with weight-loss programs or diets. Where these programs generally fail, TLC has been remarkably successful in helping people achieve long-term results.
In numerous studies, TLC has been shown to be highly effective in helping prevent, manage or even reverse some of our most prevalent chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology concluded that many patients with conventional risk factors for coronary heart disease can reduce their risk without medications within 12 weeks of starting a TLC program, refuting the notion that intensive lifestyle modification is not worth the effort.
A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, involving 3,051 men ages 60-79 years with no diabetes mellitus or diagnosis of heart disease, concluded that modification of lifestyle factors, even later in life, has considerable potential for primary prevention of metabolic syndrome. A randomized, clinical trial of 348 Caucasian, middle-aged adults indicated that a TLC program incorporating various behavior modification tools, such as live lectures, workbooks and professional advice, could reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular disease after six months.
Ask your doctor about TLC – it isn’t just good for patients, it’s also good business for doctors. Your doctor might already be considering it. If not, ask for a referral to another health care professional who practices TLC. You also can ask your employer. Your employer might offer wellness benefits in the form of health insurance coverage or a corporate wellness program. Additionally, ask your tax professional if you can pay for TLC using pre-tax dollars available from an employer-sponsored flexible spending account or federal health savings account.
TLC has been shown to be a powerful tool for the prevention, management, and reversal of many of our most prevalent chronic diseases. Those who participate in a TLC program have the opportunity to protect or regain health for better, more enjoyable living.