Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 42, Issue 12, December 2013

Book reviews

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Lifestyle Medicine 2nd edition

Edited by James M Rippe

United States of America: CRC Press
ISBN 978 1 4398 4542 4, $176.00

Lifestyle Medicine 2nd editionThis 3.5 kg tome is a textbook of lifestyle medicine now in its second edition. The author, James M Rippe, is a Harvard-educated cardiologist with a special interest in lifestyle medicine. He has collated the work of over 200 authors to bring together the evidence base for lifestyle medicine. At 1638 pages it is not a light read.

The take-home message is that the habits of everyday life have an enormous impact on health in the short and long term, as well as having a profound impact on the quality of life. This is supported by a large body of scientific evidence, which the author has tried to collate. Physical activity, weight management and healthy nutrition have key roles in the prevention and treatment of most chronic diseases and this is reflected in their incorporation in nearly all evidence-based guidelines.

This book is divided into 23 parts and each part has several chapters. It covers the impact of evidence-based lifestyle interventions in cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, women’s and men’s health, obstetrics, paediatrics, pulmonary disease, sports medicine and many other clinical areas, including dermatology. It covers primary interventions, such as exercise, nutrition, weight loss and smoking cessation, as well as the psychological aspects of managing behaviour change. It has a section on family practice, health promotion and exercise psychology, as well as injury prevention. The final chapters explore assessment of physical fitness and exercise prescription, as well as public policy and environmental support for lifestyle change.

The section on family medicine focuses on how to counsel patients effectively to increase their physical activity and to make healthy food choices. Of particular relevance and use to the general practitioner is the distinction made in Chapter 27 between giving expert advice and health and wellness coaching. The latter uses a collaborative and shared approach to making lifestyle changes, with case studies at the end of the chapter to highlight this different style.

In summary, this is an ambitious textbook with an American focus. It is intended as a reference to support the use of lifestyle medicine in everyday clinical practice. It contains a wealth of information over a broad spectrum of topics.

Dr Trisha Boetto
Melbourne, Vic

Mindfulness at work

Dr Stephen McKenzie

Auckland: Exisle Publishing Pty Ltd, 2013
ISBN 978 1921 966 194, $24.99

Mindfulness at workFollowing Mindfulness for life, his great work with Craig Hassed, Stephen McKenzie has produced a perfect sequel – a handy guide to using the tools of mindfulness focusing on work life.

When asked to review the book my thoughts sprang forth with, ‘I am far too stressed and busy with work for this right now.’ So with that I then replied, ’Of course, this is exactly what I need to read right now!’

The author reminds us that the practice of mindfulness is not something that we need to add to our ‘to do’ list between running our busy lives. Mindfulness is something we all can do IN our lives, particularly our work lives, where we spend a large proportion of our time. Further, the author provides excellent tips and examples how of how practising mindfulness in the workplace has proven benefits to our experience of work and also for the people we share our work with.

Each chapter of this book explores various aspects of our work life, from decision-making, leadership, relationships with co-workers and clients, to creativity and creating a work life that is joyous and not something we endure so we can afford the fun times – those times when we intend to be more mindful.

I particularly enjoyed the author’s entertaining informal style with good humour and real life examples, walking the talk that mindfulness is not some esoteric practice for the apparently enlightened few, but can enhance the work life experiences of teachers, tradies, healers, dealers in sales, artisans and even lawyers.

This book certainly landed on my desk at the right time and I will be referring to the ‘take-to-work-tips’, which summarise the take-home messages of each chapter, while I take mindfulness to my work.

Dr Richard Mayes
Castlemaine, Vic

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