Lifestyle Medicine

Better Health Through Better Living

You are what you eat. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Move it or lose it. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. These may be cliches, but they all contain a healthy dose of truth about wellness.

What you eat, whether you exercise, how many hours you sleep each night, the amount of stress you're under—these are lifestyle pieces that can and do have a big impact on your health puzzle. That said, eating right, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and making other critical lifestyle changes can be challenging, especially when you're going at it alone.

What impact does lifestyle have on health?

Research continues to show that lifestyle has a significant influence on our physical and mental health. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60 percent of related factors to individual health and quality of life are correlated to lifestyle. That's why lifestyle interventions, such as changes to diet or smoking cessation, can be just as effective as (if not more than) traditional treatments like medication. Plus, lifestyle interventions are less costly and do not have bad side effects.

What is lifestyle medicine?

Lifestyle medicine addresses the root cause of disease, focusing on four key aspects of longevity: nutrition, exercise, sleep and mental health.

How is lifestyle medicine different from traditional medicine?

Traditional medicine focuses on the care of sick people, striving to find a cure through treating the symptoms of disease. This approach emphasizes disease reversal versus examining the cause and early development of disease.

Lifestyle medicine is preventative and proactive. It is a shift in thinking. This shift pays greater attention to what science has already told us—that the majority of chronic diseases, as well as many forms of cancer, are the outcome of unhealthy living. Lifestyle medicine educates, equips and empowers people with information, tools and resources to preserve health and fight disease.

Differences Between Conventional and Lifestyle Medicine

Conventional Lifestyle
Goal is disease management Goal is primary, secondary and tertiary disease prevention
Emphasis is on diagnosis and prescription Emphasis is on root cause of diagnosis
Treats individual risk factors Treats lifestyle causes
Treatment is often short term Treatment is always long term
Patient is often passive recipient of care Patient is active partner in care
Patient is instructed to make changes Patient is supported and encouraged to make changes
Responsibility falls on patient to follow doctors orders Collaborative partnership between doctor and patient to facilitate lifestyle change
Medication is often the "end" treatment Medication may be needed but as an adjunct to lifestyle change
Side effects are balanced by the benefits No side effects to positive lifestyle changes

Who is a good candidate for lifestyle medicine?

Those suffering from health conditions like heart or vascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions; individuals facing bariatric or joint replacement surgery; patients being treated for or recovering from cancer (including breast cancer); or anybody seeking to prevent illness or who desires optimal health and wellness.

How can our program benefit you?

It is well known and documented that tobacco use, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity contribute to chronic illness and premature death. About half of all adults in the U.S. have at least one chronic condition, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

The good news is, in many cases these conditions can be prevented, delayed, controlled or even reversed by living a healthy lifestyle. Holland Hospital's Lifestyle Medicine Program will focus on these six areas to help patients realize greater health and wellness:

  • Food: More whole, plant-based foods, and less refined and highly processed foods, meat and dairy products.
  • Movement: Increasing daily physical activity to at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Sleep: Ensuring consistent quality sleep.
  • Mindfulness: Lowering stress and anxiety through healthy coping techniques like exercise, meditation or deep breathing.
  • Cessation: of tobacco products and excess alcohol intake.
  • Support: Providing guidance, encouragement and motivation for lasting success.

Where do you begin?

You will be scheduled for an initial consultation with our Medical Director, Dr. Tyler Murphy, a board-certified internist with fellowship training in lifestyle medicine.

During your first visit, you will receive a thorough evaluation. Dr. Murphy will then develop a detailed plan that includes realistic goals, actions and timing for making key lifestyle changes and achieving results. Follow-up visits will be scheduled to celebrate successes, problem solve and set new goals.

Most patients should plan to meet with Dr. Murphy every two to eight weeks for several months. Additional nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, and health coaching resources maybe recommended as needed.

Does insurance cover lifestyle medicine?

Many insurance programs will cover a portion of the cost, such as physician services. While other non-physician services may not be covered, you may be able to use flex spending and/or health savings dollars to offset these costs. If you have questions about your coverage, please contact your insurance carrier.

To Learn More

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Murphy, please call his office at (616) 399-9522.

Meet Our Lifestyle Medicine Team

Tyler Murphy, MD


Education & Training

Institution Degree
University of Michigan Health System Internship/Residency
Medical College of Ohio MD