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Lifestyle Medicine for Weight Management

Course Description | Faculty | Accreditation | General Information

Course Description

Acknowledgement: This course is co-sponsored by the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine

This program has also been approved for 4.00 hours of continuing education credit with the Commission Case Management Certification (CCM). In order to receive your verification of completion form, please email cme_online@hms.harvard.edu

Lifestyle choices including tobacco use, poor diet, and inactivity are at the root of the most prevalent causes of death: heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Lifestyle modification is a cost-effective means to reduce the estimated costs of ~$120 billion for tobacco related illness and ~$90 billion from sedentary behavior and overweight/obesity annually in the US alone.

Additional lifestyle factors impacting disease include limited stress coping skills and poor medication compliance.

The impact of these lifestyle choices is well recognized. Therefore affecting behavioral change and motivating individuals toward better choices is an area of active interest and research. This course seeks to train physicians to efficiently and effectively coach their patients toward improved lifestyle choices.

Original Release: 3/29/2006
Most Recent Update: 1/7/2014
Termination Date: 1/7/2017

NUMBER OF CREDIT HOURS: The Harvard Medical School designates this enduring material for a maximum of 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This course should take approximately 4 hours to complete.

COST: COST: $100.00


  1. Train physicians to efficiently and effectively prescribe and coach lifestyle medicine interventions for their patients.
  2. Affect change in physicians' personal lifestyle choices regarding weight, physical activity/exercise, nutrition, smoking, stress management, and depression management.
  3. Help disseminate guidelines on exercise, nutrition, overweight/obesity, and stress management.


  1. Learn active and reflective listening, appreciative inquiry, supportive feedback, decisional balance, and self-efficacy to improve the quality of their interactions with patients and improve their ability to facilitate patient lifestyle change.
  2. Rapidly assess a patient's readiness to change for each prescribed behavior and tailor their message and coaching to the patient's stage of change.
  3. Become well versed with new clinical guidelines in the USDA Nutrition (Food Pyramid) and the Physical Activity/Exercise recommendations from the CDC/ACSM.
  4. Employ the guidelines for overweight/obesity treatment and prevention to afford rapid screening and intervention for patients.


Registrants participate in the learning process by answering interactive multiple choice questions that are dispersed throughout the case presentation. You must answer a question correctly in order to continue through the course. If you answer a question incorrectly, you will be prompted to try again.

In order to earn credit, physicians must complete the entire educational activity before the termination date (see above). Non-physicians may register for the course but are not eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Instead, non-physicians will earn a certificate of participation after successfully completing the course before its termination date.


This internet enduring material is a case-based, interactive presentation comprised mainly of text, interactive questions, and images. A variety of media, including video clips, audio clips, and Flash animation, may be presented. Links to any necessary plugins are provided when necessary, but no plugins are required for general use of the CME website, and you may skip the multimedia presentation(s) within the course if you choose.

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Course Director
Edward M. Phillips, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. He is the Director of Outpatient Medical Services of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Network in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Phillips’ clinical and academic work at the intersection of exercise physiology and mental health spawned his interest in Lifestyle Medicine. He is founder and director of The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. Additionally, Dr. Phillips serves on the American College of Sports Medicine task force that has initiated and developed the Exercise is Medicine program. His book on the topic, Exercise is Medicine, The Clinician's Guide to the Exercise Prescription was published by Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins in early 2009.

Johnson & Johnson, consultant, Health and Wellness Merck, consultant

Course Co-Director
Margaret is an entrepreneur and 17-year veteran of the biotechnology industry in the UK, France, Canada, and the USA. Margaret served in executive roles in two multinational pharmaceutical companies (part of AstraZeneca and Aventis), and as CEO or COO of two startup biotechnology companies, including a cancer biotechnology company that merged with publicly traded Medigene AG (Germany) in 2001. Margaret is the Founder and CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation (strategic partner of the American College of Sports Medicine), which has set a gold standard for the training and certification of healthcare providers as professional health and wellness coaches, and has trained 4,000 coaches since 2002. Margaret is the lead author of the Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins Coaching Psychology Manual – the first coaching textbook in healthcare. Margaret is a co-founder and co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She leads the Institute’s Center for Coaching in Healthcare and a national agenda for coach credentialing and coaching research. Margaret is also an advisor to the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Spaulding Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Owner of Wellcoaches Corporation

Course Contributor
Terry has been a leader in higher education administration for twenty years, focused in the area of student development. She has served as Director of Wellness Programming at Boston College and is currently the Director of Graduate Admissions at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA, the academic affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital. Terry is an ACSM certified Health and Fitness Instructor as well as a certified Wellness Coach and has contributed to many educational programs in the area of health and wellness.

Contractor: Wellcoaches Corporation

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Bio and Photo Coming Soon.

Reported no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities.

Elizabeth Pegg Frates, MD, is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and Assistant Director of Medical Education of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Frates received her BA degree from Harvard University and medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine. Her focus is on the academic side of medicine, teaching the Human Central Nervous System, Musculoskeletal System, and Introduction to the Professions at Harvard Medical School. She is also a writer, stroke educator and researcher. Beth completed her internship in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where she served as Chief Resident.

Dr. Frates educates the public about stroke basics including risk factors, warning signs, what to do if someone is having a stroke and how to prevent a second stroke. Much of the prevention requires behavior modification. She is the co-author of the book Life After Stroke: The Guide to Recovery and Preventing Another Stroke published by Johns Hopkins University Press. In residency, Dr. Frates worked on a study examining the exercise habits of physicians and comparing that to their counseling. She found that physicians who exercise themselves are more likely to counsel patients about exercise.

Dr. Frates is an avid runner, completing her first race, a 10-mile course on Nantucket Island, when she was in 7th grade. More recently, in May 2006, she completed the Vermont Half Marathon as a member of the Train to End Stroke team with the American Heart Association.

Founder, Wellness Synergy, LLC (wellness coaching and private practice)

Grace Huang, MD, is the Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research, a joint venture between HMS and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston. She also works as a hospitalist at BIDMC. She has spent a number of years designing web-based modules on clinical skills, including computer-based case simulations (“virtual patients”), physical diagnosis tutorials, interactive pathophysiology diagrams, and procedure-based instruction. She serves as a consultant to the Association of American Medical Colleges in their initiative to promote scholarship and sharing of educational materials through MedEdPORTAL. Her clinical research interest is in the impact of a formal hospital-based procedure service on complication rates among internal medicine residents.

Dr. Huang's spouse works at Pfizer, Inc., and she holds stock options and shares in the same company.

Dr. Walter Willett is Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, studied food science at Michigan State University, and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School before obtaining a Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Willett has focused much of his work over the last 25 years on the development of methods, using both questionnaire and biochemical approaches, to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases. He has applied these methods starting in 1980 in the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Together, these cohorts that include nearly 300,000 men and women with repeated dietary assessments are providing the most detailed information on the long-term health consequences of food choices.

Dr. Willett has published over 1,000 articles, primarily on lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and cancer, and has written the textbook, Nutritional Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press. He also has three books book for the general public, Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, which has appeared on most major bestseller lists, Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less, co-authored with Mollie Katzen, and most recently, The Fertility Diet, co-authored with Jorge Chavarro and Pat Skerrett. Dr. Willett is the most cited nutritionist internationally, and is among the five most cited persons in all fields of clinical science. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of many national and international awards for his research.

Reported no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities

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Course Planners
Dr. Sanjiv Chopra is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also the the James Tullis Firm Chief in the Department of Medicine and a Senior Consultant in Hepatology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. He served as Faculty Dean for Continuing Education at HMS for 12 years. Dr. Chopra has more than 150 publications and seven books to his credit. Dr. Chopra is Editor-in-Chief of the Hepatology Section of UpToDate, the most widely used electronic textbook in the world subscribed to by more than 850,000 physicians in 149 countries. He is also the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. For a complete bio, click here.

Reported no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities

Andi Long directs the Department of Continuing Education’s Distance Learning group, which offers a variety of online continuing medical education programs to health care professionals around the world. Andi develops strategies for new pilot programs and systematically rolls out new distance learning initiatives and has a leadership role in IT planning and other online processes for HMS DCE. She oversees the day-to-day operations of each distance learning activity and ensures ACCME compliance across all enduring programs. She has had the privilege of working with hundreds of Harvard Medical School Faculty members to develop high-quality, engaging online programs that physicians in more than 170 countries have taken part in. Andi earned her Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education and graduated from Bridgewater State College with a degree in English. Her professional interests focus on teaching and learning with new technologies and online course development.

Reported no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities

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The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Harvard Medical School designates this enduring material for a maximum of 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This course should take approximately 4 hours to complete.

Within 2 weeks of completing the course, you will receive your certificate via email.

Click the image to view a sample of the certificate

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General Information


Any computer running Windows, Mac OS, or Unix machines are supported.

Internet Connection
Your computer should be configured to access the Internet. A high speed internet connection may be required to view some of the large multimedia files.

Firefox or Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher are recommended. JavaScript and cookies must be enabled.

Some of the multimedia resources in this course require Apple Quicktime, RealMedia, or a Flash player. You will be prompted to download the appropriate plugin when necessary. No plugins are required for general use of the CME website, and you may skip the multimedia presentation(s) within the course if you choose.


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