Compass Lifestyle Medicine is a social enterprise aimed at coaching and educating in behaviour change for the prevention, arrest and reversal of chronic disease. In spite of our nation’s wealth and highly developed health care system we have an epidemic of chronic disease. Much of this is due to lifestyle factors and therefore avoidable and to an extent reversible. The enterprise has partnered with experts at the Lifestyle Medicine Institute, based in California, to bring the Complete Health Improvement Program to the UK. This 18 module course, delivered over six to 12 weeks, educates participants in medical science, nutrition, physical activity, psychological perspectives of stress reduction, positive psychology approaches to human flourishing, and social/relational health. The course also gives space for self-directed exploration of spiritual/existential questions in the context of health.
Compass Lifestyle Medicine was founded by Matt Hawker (a hospital consultant and lifestyle medicine expert) and Peter Phillips (a consultant physician). They are very ably supported by a multi disciplinary team of 20 others; dieticians, nutrition scientists, psychologists/counsellors, GPs, psychiatrists, microbiome experts, physical trainers and public health policy experts. Each team member is an expert in their field and a trained facilitator of the complete health improvement programme. The company works with clients on the programme collectively and individually depending on client preference. They are participating in active research programmes to demonstrate the efficacy of lifestyle medicine in chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety and chronic stress. Bringing a science-based yet holistic approach, delivered by multidisciplinary experts, greatly enhances the impact of the intervention on disease reduction and health promotion.
Compass Lifestyle Medicine’s social mission is to reverse the nation’s epidemic of chronic disease caused by poor lifestyle choices. They seek to offer participants the hope of the body’s capacity for healing through addressing root causes of chronic disease. Published data shows that it is possible to prevent and even reverse diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, some cancers, common mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety and even dementia. Participants of the programme regularly report improved sleep, improved energy and concentration, improved capacity for physical activity and reduced symptoms of low mood. There is no UK data on comprehensive lifestyle medicine and chronic disease and Compass Lifestyle Medicine are planning to research studies addressing this and the health economics later in 2019. They will use the lifestyle medicine programme as an educational tool for healthcare professionals. There is a great need for education in nutrition science and both the preventability and reversibility of chronic disease by addressing its root causes.