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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 064. | January 25, 2024
064: The Whole-Person Approach: Dr. Wayne Dysinger’s Blueprint for Health
064: The Whole-Person Approach: Dr. Wayne Dysinger’s Blueprint for Health

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In this week’s NHA Health Science Podcast conversation, Dr. Frank Sabatino invites Dr. Wayne Dysinger, an international leader in lifestyle medicine, to share his passion around healthy lifestyles, the medical industry and the four pillars of health.

Background and Roots in the Blue Zone

Dr. Dysinger, the chair and founder of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine, traces his roots back to Loma Linda, known as a Blue Zone

Raised in a Seventh-day Adventist family with a vegetarian lifestyle, he shares his journey from a conservative upbringing to becoming a prominent figure in preventive medicine.

Early Interest in Preventive Medicine

Growing up in a family where his father was a physician, Dr. Dysinger developed a keen interest in preventive medicine. Despite the lack of emphasis on preventive medicine in his medical school curriculum, he pursued additional classes in public health and remained committed to his passion.

Chair of Preventive Medicine at Loma Linda

Dr. Dysinger’s journey led him to become the Chair of Preventive Medicine at Loma Linda, where he played a pivotal role in integrating preventive and lifestyle medicine into the medical education curriculum. His efforts were aimed at incorporating evidence-based science into healthcare, promoting a whole plant-based food diet, and emphasizing water-only fasting.

The Lifestyle Medicine Movement

With a great deal of emphasis on the discussion of lifestyle medicine, Dr. Dysinger sheds light on the movement’s core principles. He highlights that 80% of healthcare revolves around chronic diseases, and 80% of these chronic diseases are directly related to lifestyle choices. This forms the foundation for preventive medicine.

From Prevention to Reversibility

One key aspect of lifestyle medicine is the notion of reversibility. Dr. Dysinger emphasizes that with the right lifestyle choices, many chronic diseases can be prevented, and in some cases, even reversed. The movement seeks to empower individuals to make gradual changes in diet, exercise, and stress management for long-term health benefits.

Founding the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine

Dr. Dysinger played a crucial role in founding the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine. This initiative aimed to differentiate between scientifically-based lifestyle medicine specialists and those who may not adhere to evidence-based practices. The board sought recognition from influential medical organizations to solidify the standing of lifestyle medicine in mainstream healthcare.

Lifestyle Medicine in Practice

Leaving academia, Dr. Dysinger started Lifestyle Medical, a practice focusing on lifestyle medicine. While promoting a predominantly plant-based diet, the practice recognizes the importance of meeting patients where they are. Dr. Dysinger believes that being supportive of individual journeys is crucial, even if it means allowing for some flexibility in dietary choices.

Spectrum of Preferences

In addressing dietary choices, Dr. Dysinger acknowledges that while he advocates for a 95% plant-based diet, he recognizes that strict plant exclusivity might not suit everyone. The practice aims to guide patients towards healthier choices, acknowledging that the journey towards optimal health is unique for everyone.

The Shifting Culture towards Plant-Based Living

Reflecting on the cultural shift towards a plant-based world over the last 40 to 50 years, Dr. Dysinger observes a noticeable change in attitudes towards embracing a plant-centric lifestyle.

Inside Lifestyle Medical: An Integrated Approach

Going deeper into the workings of Lifestyle Medical, Dr. Dysinger outlines the practice’s primary care focus, particularly on Medicare Advantage. The practice seamlessly integrates online and in-person programs to cater to diverse preferences. Dr. Dysinger emphasizes flexibility in engagement, allowing local patients to choose between online and in-office visits based on their convenience and preferences.

The Four Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine

Lifestyle Medical revolves around four pillars: nutrition, movement, resilience, and connectedness. 

Nutrition – The Foundation
With a focus on a predominantly plant-based diet, Lifestyle Medical emphasizes the pivotal role of nutrition. While advocating for a 95% plant-based diet, the practice recognizes individual preferences, promoting a balanced and supportive approach.

Movement – Vital for Longevity
Recognizing the importance of movement, especially for seniors, the practice provides support and guidance for incorporating physical activity into daily routines. Movement is seen as a key factor in maintaining vitality and youthfulness.

Resilience – Balancing Stress and Sleep
The third pillar, resilience, encompasses managing stress, sleep, and overall energy. Lifestyle Medical aims to equip individuals with tools to enhance their ability to cope with stress and foster restful sleep.

Connectedness – Fostering Community
Understanding the significance of social support, Lifestyle Medical actively works towards creating a sense of connectedness within the practice. Various groups, including meditation and support groups, contribute to building a supportive community.

Future Aspirations and National Expansion

Dr. Dysinger envisions a future where individuals can choose lifestyle medicine as a distinct path within the medical profession. Business collaborations and potential national expansion are on the horizon, reflecting a growing interest in adopting the Lifestyle Medical model beyond Southern California.

Episode Highlights 

[02:00] The foundation began as a Seventh Day Adventist. 

[03:45] Dr. Dysinger’s interest in the medical field began with his father.

[06:00] ICU rotations set the stage for what was to come.

[09:30] The story behind being part of the founding board of Lifestyle Medicine.

[12:30] Chronic disease at epidemic proportions. 

[17:30] Meeting patients where they’re at for optimal results. 

[23:30] Both in person and virtual services for various needs of patients. 

[26:30] The four pillars of healing in Dr. Dysinger’s practice.

[31:00] Dr. Dysinger’s vision for the future of the lifestyle medicine movement.

About Dr. Wayne Dysinger 

Dr. Wayne S. Dysinger is a distinguished figure in the field of healthcare, renowned for his commitment to empowering individuals to make informed and healthy lifestyle choices. As the founder of Lifestyle Medical, he has dedicated his career to promoting holistic care and lifestyle medicine.

Dr. Dysinger’s professional background includes serving as the Chair of the Preventive Medicine Department at Loma Linda University Medical Center, a prestigious institution ranked as the #2 best hospital in the Inland Empire according to the U.S. News Rankings. His leadership at Loma Linda University reflects his dedication to preventive medicine and underscores his role as an influential figure in the medical community.

Internationally recognized, Dr. Wayne Dysinger has played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of holistic care and lifestyle medicine. His contributions extend to founding and chairing the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine, where he has served as a driving force behind the advancement of these medical principles.

Specializing in the treatment of conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and chronic diabetes, Dr. Dysinger brings a wealth of expertise to his practice. His commitment to comprehensive and natural approaches to healthcare is evident in his passion for treating the whole person.

Dr. Dysinger’s influence extends beyond clinical practice. As the Chief Executive Officer for Lifestyle Medicine Solutions, he champions a new model of primary care that integrates Lifestyle Medicine principles with a direct primary care funding mechanism. 

With a rich academic background, Dr. Wayne S. Dysinger earned his M.D. degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1986 and his Master of Public Health (MPH) from Loma Linda University School of Public Health in 1990. His dedication to healthcare has taken him to various locations, including Guam, Atlanta, and Dartmouth.

Dr. Dysinger’s leadership roles, including his past presidency of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and his involvement with organizations such as the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American Medical Association, and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research, highlight his commitment to advancing the field of lifestyle medicine on a broader scale.

Learn more about Lifestyle Medical and Dr. Dysinger at: 

About Dr. Frank Sabatino

As a recognized authority on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, Dr. Frank Sabatino has cared for and inspired thousands of people for over 40 years. Dr. Sabatino has a PhD in cell biology and neuroendocrinology and has done extensive landmark research on calorie restriction, stress, and aging. He currently is on staff at the TrueNorth Health Foundation in Santa Rosa, CA, and serves as the Director of Health Education at the NHA.

Dr. Sabatino’s passion and life’s work include raising awareness about the benefits of whole-food, plant-exclusive nutrition (without added salt, oil, or sugar), health rejuvenation and stress management.

About NHA

The National Health Association (NHA), founded in 1948, is a nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of a plant-based diet. The Association provides educational materials, educational events, and services to thousands of people around the world.

The mission of the National Health Association is to educate and empower individuals to understand that health results from healthful living. The NHA recognizes the integration of all aspects of health: personal, environmental, and social.

The NHA also provides travel experiences around the globe through the NHA Plant-Based Travel and cruise division.

More information: 


A unique benefit of the NHA Conference is the selection of two medical students who receive a full scholarship to the conference.

Contact Wanda Huberman for more information on how to apply for the scholarship.  [email protected]

NHA membership

For a very nominal investment, you can enjoy incredible benefits of the NHA membership.

Members of the NHA enjoy a subscription to the award-winning quarterly health journal, Health Science, access to the “Members Only” section of the NHA Website (which contains all 43 years of back issues of the magazine),  the ability to download for free many classic out of print eBooks on the history of the Natural Hygiene Movement, including Fasting Can Save Your Life and The Greatest Health Discovery, discounts on books, and early notice of the NHA events.

Only $35 a year for basic membership within the United States.

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