A record number of participants joined this year’s edition of Lifestyle Medicine Week, an annual initiative by the Institute for Population Health (IPH) at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q).

Taking place entirely online for the first time since its launch in 2018, the week-long series of events drew participants from Qatar and from different parts of the world, to take part in healthy cooking competition, learn stress management techniques, connect with others through an online trivia quiz, and join in with live physical activity sessions.

WCMQ Lifestyle Medicine Week

Lifestyle Medicine Week is the centrepiece event from a series of initiatives run by IPH throughout the year, all of which are designed to empower people to adopt healthy lifestyle habits in order to promote well-being and prevent or help control non-communicable diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and many others.

Dr Ravinder Mamtani, Vice Dean for Student Affairs – Admissions, Population Health, and Lifestyle Medicine at WCM-Q, said they are truly amazed at the number of people who took part in the Lifestyle Medicine Week this year, with people showing great enthusiasm to learn the best ways to look after their own health and that of their family members.

Research shows that following simple habits like taking regular exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, avoiding tobacco and other risky substances, and managing stress are incredibly powerful tools for maintaining good health.

All of the initiatives coordinated by the IPH team follow the latest evidence-based research to optimise their effectiveness. The team also conducts its own research, offers certificate courses in lifestyle medicine for healthcare professionals, and runs community outreach programmes with local schools and businesses to raise awareness for a wide variety of health issues, from road safety to nutrition.

Given the need to follow physical distancing protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Lifestyle Medicine Week had a special focus on the importance of social connectedness for maintaining good mental health.

IPH Assistant Dean Dr Sohaila Cheema said that Lifestyle Medicine Week emphasises the importance of viewing and pursuing health in a holistic manner. She said that social connectedness is a key element of this approach.

When we are socially connected, we feel happier and far more motivated to follow healthy lifestyle habits, and by giving and receiving moral support we can boost our self-esteem and mental health.

Dr Cheema said that the IPH team strongly encourages everyone to make the best use of online communication platforms to stay connected with family and friends during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For updates and more information, visit qatar-weill.cornell.edu.