Malaysia Joins Global Leaders In Lifestyle Medicine , Signs Doha Declaration

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 (Bernama) — In a landmark step towards addressing the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), Malaysia has signed the Doha Declaration, a global consensus on the critical importance of Lifestyle Medicine (LM).

The declaration was announced during Lifestyle Medicine Week, held from May 18-24, 2024, following the Lifestyle Medicine Leadership Summit in February in Doha, Qatar.

Organised by the Institute for Population Health (IPH) of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance (LMGA), and the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine (IBLM), the summit brought together over 24 international experts from 21 countries.

Dr. Sivaneswaran Poobalasingam, Founding President of the Malaysian Society of Lifestyle Medicine (MSLM), represented Malaysia at the summit with his lecture titled “The Role of Lifestyle Medicine in Revolutionising Healthcare.” He emphasised the need to integrate LM into both public and private healthcare systems in Malaysia.

He highlighted the successful implementation of the WHO-MOH (Ministry of Health) Project on LM for the remission of Type 2 Diabetes at a public healthcare facility in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, as a groundbreaking initiative.

“This project paves the way for incorporating LM into our healthcare system,” he told Bernama.

The Doha Declaration calls for urgent global action to address the NCD crisis, which accounts for 7 out of 10 deaths worldwide. In Malaysia, 16 per cent of the healthcare budget is spent on managing NCDs.

The declaration underscores Lifestyle Medicine’s potential to transform healthcare by promoting therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality to treat chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Dr. Sivaneswaran stressed the need to train healthcare professionals in LM and incorporate these principles into undergraduate medical education. “We must equip our doctors and healthcare professionals with the skills to deal with NCDs effectively,” he said.

Grounded in evidence-based practices, LM offers a holistic approach to preventing, treating, and even reversing diseases. By promoting positive behaviors such as maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress, avoiding risky substance use, ensuring adequate sleep, and fostering healthy relationships, LM aims to enhance overall well-being.

Dr. Sivaneswaran expressed optimism about the future of healthcare in Malaysia with the adoption of LM.

“Moving towards a system where health coaching for behaviour change and evoking awareness in patients will see us make significant strides in our efforts to combat NCDs.

“Malaysia must incorporate Lifestyle Medicine to stem our own NCD tsunami,” he said, adding that nearly 6,700 clinicians worldwide are certified in LM.

He also announced that the 4th Malaysian Lifestyle Medicine Conference will be held in Kuala Lumpur from Nov 21-22, followed by the Lifestyle Medicine Board Certification Examination by the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine on Nov 23.

For more information on the Lifestyle Medicine Conference, the Board Certification Examination and the Doha Declaration visit the official website of the Malaysian Society of Lifestyle Medicine