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Primary care and lifestyle

In my first year of being a junior doctor I had the realisation that the vast proportion of health conditions today relate to our collective modern lifestyles and the environment we live in.  Modern medicine is amazing at treating acute disease, but I became somewhat demoralised during my first two years practicing as a doctor in an acute hospital. I felt I was never getting to the root cause of a patient’s problem or promoting wellness. I was never getting people back to a state of real health and happiness. I remember I went into primary care as part of training and was going back into hospital work which just doesn’t resonate with me. I wanted to keep something going which I felt passionate about and felt I had found my ikgai in lifestyle medicine. So, I started The Lifestyle Pill as a platform to help me learn more about lifestyle medicine. What I’ve enjoyed the most along this journey is connecting with like-minded people.

During medical school I didn’t get much education on lifestyle medicine to be honest. There were a few nutrition and sociology lectures. I do think lifestyle medicine is a relatively new field and do feel for those creating medical school curricula as there is so much already to squeeze in. Yet, there is a craving from medics themselves to have this education. With the change in the landscape of illness which has occurred, from acute infectious diseases to chronic, non-communicable diseases, education should change to reflect this so doctors can adequately treat the populations we serve.

I recently gave a workshop as part of a study day for local GP trainees on the power of lifestyle medicine and the feedback has been amazing. Health care professionals are obviously wanting this information but at present it’s often those who are passionate about it, willing to pay for expensive courses and take study days to go on a self-directed learning journey.


Nutritank is such a great resource, for medical students and qualified doctors. They offer a platform to engage with other health professionals or students interested in nutrition and lifestyle medicine & provide valuable resources to start your journey into exploring the power of nutrition and lifestyle for the health and wellbeing of yourselves and that of your patients.

Emma Thurston

Written by Dr Emma Thurston, who is a General Practitioner trainee in Dorset. She qualified from Oxford University in 2015 with a distinction in Medicine and a master’s degree in medical sciences. She is now studying for another master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Edinburgh alongside being a practicing doctor. She has a special interest in Lifestyle Medicine, is the Regional Director for the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine for Hampshire and Dorset and manages The Lifestyle Pill platform, which aims to educate and empower people about the potential healthy lifestyle behaviours have on our wellbeing. Emma’s blog can be found at,, her Instagram channel is @the_lifestylepill and twitter channel @_lifestyle pill. 

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