Brookfield Centre for Lifestyle Medicine – Mainstreaming the Sustainable Healthcare Approach to Tackle Chronic Diseases by Westley Igbo, Strategic Communications Consultant
Lifestyle Medicine is a healthcare approach that adopts fact-based behavioral changes to prevent, treat, manage, and reverse chronic diseases related to lifestyle choices. The new medical approach advocates therapeutic approaches to sustainable living built on the pillars of proper nutrition, effective stress management, sleep, avoidance of harmful substances, consistent physical activity, and social connectedness. The advent of Lifestyle Medicine dates back to 1989 when the term was first used at a Brussels Conference on Cancer Control. Thereafter, American Cardiologist, James M Rippe used the term as the title of his book which is widely considered as the first textbook and landmark publication in the Lifestyle Medicine profession.
An inquiry into the nature and causes of chronic illnesses gave rise to the medical approach that is Lifestyle Medicine. When a trend of similar diseases began to reoccur on a consistent basis, physicians began to investigative the likely causes and discovered that the patient’s lifestyle often played a key role. Hence, they began to hold conversations far and wide to create awareness on the impact of unhealthy lifestyle choices and their long-term repercussions. Before Lifestyle Medicine came into Nigeria, it had gained sufficient traction and adoption in the USA, UK, and Australia before spreading to other countries across the continents. Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONg) founded in 2017, is the first medical professional association in Nigeria representing physicians, medical and healthcare professionals who are dedicated to the advancement and practice of Lifestyle Medicine. The founding President of the organization, Dr Ifeoma Monye is also the founder of the first Lifestyle Medicine centre in Africa – Brookfield Centre for LifestyleMedicine.
Brookfield Centre for Lifestyle Medicine has since engaged in a series of initiatives to spread the word, beginning with the Lifestyle Fusion Fair which brought together over 250 Lifestyle Medicine enthusiasts and practitioners and key advocates of healthy lifestyle practices to showcase their products and services and promote health and wellness. “Walk with a Doc” a monthly walk implemented by the Centre in Abuja (Nigeria) under the larger international Walk with a Doc brand has also been instrumental in getting Abuja residents to move more towards health and wellness, and social connectedness. The Centre’s initiatives have been targeted towards chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, cancers, chronic lung disease and more importantly, type-2-diabetes. The disease has been reported by The Nation Newspaper to be on the rise, with over 5.5 percent of the country’s population suffering from it. Medical practitioners in Abuja confirmed this assertion in a humanitarian medical outreach to Karu Village in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and believe that this is due to lifestyle choices. Research at the Brookfield Centre for Lifestyle Medicine further confirms this and has curated its initiatives to advocate upscaling of physical activity and a change in nutritional choices.
A new era has come. Healthcare approaches must now be applied with specific considerations made to the long-term, taking to note that unhealthy lifestyle choices will ultimately impact sustainable living negatively.
Brookfield Centre for Lifestyle Medicine website: www.brookfieldhealth.org
Connections interested in Lifestyle Medicine generally or to instigate such efforts in their own area or wish to support the Brookfield Centre are welcome.
Westley Igbo is a Brand and Strategic Communications Consultant who believes that at the core of every successful business, public reform or development initiative is a communications effort. He has developed and implemented communications strategies for donor-funded development projects and curated a vast selection of creative content for emerging brands. He has also authored research and technical
papers focused on analyzing key developmental issues from the communications perspective.
Dr Ifeoma Monye is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners, a Board Certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician (International Board of Lifestyle Medicine), and a Chief Consultant Family Physician in the Department of Family Medicine, National Hospital, Abuja (NHA). In 2003, supported by the Management of National Hospital Abuja, she created the Family Medicine Department at the National Hospital Abuja. Dr Monye was a Pioneer Head of Department and held this position for over eleven years. Dr Monye is the founding and current President of the Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONg) and also the Africa Lifestyle Medicine Association (ALMA). She leads the Nigeria Society in the global space, where SOLONg is recognised and regulated by the International regulatory body in Lifestyle Medicine; the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance (LMGA). She began her training in Lifestyle Medicine at the Harvard Institute Of Lifestyle Medicine and is a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (2009), a founding member of the European Lifestyle Medicine Organization (2014) and a founding member of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine (2017), where she serves as a Regional Director.
Dr Monye serves on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention-Incorporating the International Journal Of Lifestyle Medicine. She is the publisher of “Lifestyle Choices” and has authored books. She is also a strong advocate for gender equality. She is an alumnus of the “WOMEN TRANSFORMING LEADERSHIP” course in the prestigious SAID Business School, University of Oxford. In 2014, she founded the Brookfield Centre for Lifestyle Medicine, the first Lifestyle Medicine Centre in Africa.
Dr Monye is passionate about educating and spreading awareness on the new specialty of Lifestyle Medicine which helps individuals, families, and communities adopt healthy lifestyle choices, such as whole food plant-based nutrition, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, thriving social connections, stress management. A patient who walks into her Consulting room is just as likely to walk out with a prescription of Tiger Nuts, pumpkin leaves, African walnuts, Hibiscus tea, 60 minutes of moderate physical activity six days a week, as they are for Losartan or Lipitor! Dr Monye co-presents a Health and Wholeness program on International TV (KEYS TO HEALTH, WHOLENESS, AND FRUITFULNESS), and she is a sought-after Radio presenter on Lifestyle and Health. She is married to Prof Sylvester Monye and has four lovely children.