How to Certify

  • To certify as a Lifestyle Medicine physician
    • You must be board-certified by a medical specialty board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) for US based physicians
    • You must be credentialed as a physician in your country of residence for physicians outside the USA
  • Your certification will be issued by the ABLM for US/Canada based physicians, and by the IBLM for physicians outside North America

  • To certify as a Lifestyle Medicine professional
    • You must hold a PhD, a clinical or professional doctoral degree or a Masters degree in a health or allied health discipline, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Nursing Practice, or
    • You must be a certified and licensed Physician Assistant, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Optometry, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Podiatry, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Chiropractic, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Naturopathy (AANMC certified Naturopathic doctors only), or
    • You must be a Doctor of Psychotherapy, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Exercise Physiology, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Occupational Therapy, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Pharmacy, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Physiotherapy, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Psychology, or
    • You must be a Doctor of Dentistry
  • Your certification will be co-issued by the ACLM and IBLM for US/Canada based health practitioners, and by the IBLM for people outside North America

  • To certify as a Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner
    • You must be currently licensed to practice as an RN or an RD
    • You must hold a bachelor level nurse or dietetics degree
  • Your certification will be issued by the ACLM for US/Canada based nurses and dietitians. The IBLM does not certify bachelor level health practitioners.

  • To certify as a Lifestyle Medicine specialist
    • You must be certified as a Lifestyle Medicine physician by IBLM
    • You must submit an application to the board of ABLM, using the template provided, evidencing that
      • within a 7 year period, you have obtained 720h of clinical LM activity and 300h of scholarly LM activity
      • you have reversed chronic disease in your patients by submitting 12 separate case studies, each with min. 3 contact points over 6 months
    • You must pay a non-refundable US$500 application fee
  • Your application will be reviewed and approved/declined and your certification issued by the IBLM board


PhD/Masters Level

  • 30h of online/non-live CME
  • 10h of in-person CME

Bachelor Level Nurses

  • 30h of online/non-live CME
  • 10h of in-person CME

While the ABLM sets the certification competencies and Lifestyle Medicine standards, it is left up to the participants to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and experience from reputable sources. The ABLM accepts CMEs of the following programs/providers:

Online content:

In-person learning:


  • CMEs must be no older than 36 months from the date of the exam
  • Proof of CMEs, credentials and case study must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the certification exam  PLEASE NOTE: YOU WON’T BE ADMITTED TO THE EXAM WITHOUT COMPLETED SUBMISSIONS
  • In-person CMEs from Lifestyle Medicine conferences immediately preceding an exam are exempt from the above 30 day rule
    (Please note that no certifications will be issued until the relevant documentation has been received)

(Please note that no certifications will be issued until the in-person CME certificate has been received)

Programs that meet and cover in-person and online CME exam prerequisites (30h online CME, 10h in-person CME)

Lifestyle Medicine certification competencies and exam weighting
Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine – 4%
  • Define Lifestyle Medicine (LM) and describe the unique role of LM
  • Describe the LM core competencies as identified by a national consensus panel
  • Understand the importance of LM in treating the nation’s lifestyle disease burden
  • Understand the role of behavioral determinants of positive health outcomes
  • Cite the scientific evidence that demonstrates the association of risk conditions (from unhealthy behaviors) as key to health outcomes
  • Compare and contrast to other fields of health and medicine
  • Understand the place and priority of LM in the spectrum of treatment options for chronic (lifestyle-related) diseases
  • Understand the efficacy of LM and its impact on disease pathophysiology
Fundamentals of Health Behavior Change – 10%
  • Demonstrate key elements of conducting patient readiness assessment and stage matched responses
  • Describe the process of building effective relationships with patients
  • Apply motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral and positive psychology techniques
  • Develop a written action plan based on the treatment prescription adjusted for the appropriate stage of change
  • Describe strategies for helping patients maintain healthy behaviors
  • Cite at least three health behavior change theories and their potential application to practice
  • Understand the 5 As and how to incorporate them into the office visit
  • Identify two key constructs for effective, sustainable self-management
  • Describe process of follow-up for ongoing lifestyle change progress, including building patient self-efficacy
  • Demonstrate use of readiness, importance and confidence scales
  • List components of relapse prevention planning
  • Cite the evidence base for effective coaching that promotes health behavior change and improves health outcomes
  • Describe how to create relationships with patients which foster their personal growth
  • Describe the role of self-motivation and self-confidence in effective coaching for health behavior change
  • Describe the main stages of the coaching process
  • List the coaching questions for each stage of change
Key Clinical Processes in Lifestyle Medicine – 8%
  • List components of the patient history and physical with emphasis on lifestyle risk factors
  • Describe screening and diagnostic tests relevant to lifestyle-related diseases
  • Describe how to interpret the tests using evidence based national guidelines
  • Demonstrate how to screen, diagnose and monitor a lifestyle-related condition (case example)
  • Describe strategies for a clinical practice to obtain information about local community resources
  • Describe appropriate situations for referring and collaborating with other health professionals, such as dieticians, health educators, fitness trainers, and psychologists
  • Describe the key strategies for leveraging the interdisciplinary team to enhance health behavior change interventions
  • Describe how planned and group visits can optimize office visits to support lifestyle modification
  • Cite strategies for effective office systems and office tools for tracking screening frequency and test results, and proactively prompting follow-up
  • List at least three resources available nationally that support healthy lifestyles/lifestyle change
  • Describe strategies for a clinical practice to obtain information about local community resources
  • Describe how office flow can be designed to assure consistent and up-to-date referrals
  • Cite the evidence for collaborative and chronic care models on improved lifestyle outcomes by use of allied health professionals
  • Cite examples of team implementation from demonstrated chronic care models
  • Describe the chronic care model components and how they can be implemented to support lifestyle modification
  • Describe successful primary care and office-based models for lifestyle modification, such as Prescription for Health
  • Describe the process for health care service quality improvement with applications for lifestyle interventions, such as Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles
The Role of Physician Health and the Physician’s Personal Health – 4%
  • Cite scientific data supporting that physicians who practice healthy lifestyles are more likely to offer counseling and improve patient outcomes
  • Describe strategies for incorporating wellness into clinic, medical office or other health care settings (wellness programs for health providers)
  • Conduct personal readiness assessment and develop personal action plan
  • Describe how to conduct effective advocacy on behalf of LM directly with patients and their families, as well as policy makers and decision makers within the community
Nutrition Science, Assessment and Prescription – 26%
  • Understand the dietary guidelines for Americans and why they are important, and the science-base that goes beyond guidelines
  • Understand the limitations of the dietary guidelines
  • List the food components most Americans get too much of and in which foods they’re found.
  • List the shortfall nutrients that Americans are failing to sufficiently consume and in which foods they’re found.
  • Use these criteria to determine which foods are healthiest and which least health-promoting.
  • Summarize the major nutrition studies and evidence-base for nutrition prescriptions
  • Understand the science behind making nutrition prescriptions
  • Demonstrate ability to perform a basic nutrition assessment
  • Know how to prescribe nutrition for basic disease processes including inflammation: food patterns / macronutrients, food types / micronutrients, food preparation / oxidation
  • Summarize nutrition prescriptions for the most common chronic diseases including hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer
  • Understand the role of nutrition in preventing and treating chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease
  • Describe the role of nutrition in preventing, treating and reversing diabetes
  • Demonstrate ability to make nutrition prescriptions for health maintenance
  • Describe practical strategies for assisting patients to achieve dietary changes
  • Cite the prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes and the associated cost burden
  • Describe consequences of intensive medication management
  • Describe the Diabetes Prevention Program and its applications
  • Understand the role of nutrition in preventing and treating chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease
  • Summarize the major nutrition studies and evidence-base for nutrition prescriptions
  • List at least five examples of nutrition interventions for diseases
  • Describe the pathogenesis of diabetes
  • List at least three key epigenetic influencers
  • Describe the role of epigenetics
  • Summarize key dietary research on the impact of diet on diabetes
  • List the major physiologic impacts of plant based diet in the process of diabetes reversal
Physical Activity Science and Prescription – 14%
  • Describe the relationship between physical activity (PA) and health
  • Develop an exercise prescription
  • Describe the major evidence for the physical activity components (aerobic, strength, flexibility, and balance)
  • Define physical activity and exercise
  • List the components of exercise
  • Describe the US Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGA)
  • Understand the role of personal behavior and role modeling
  • Understand the use of METS in assessing fitness
  • Describe the impact of exercise on weight
  • Identify the minimum and maximum levels of exercise
  • Describe the major evidence for the physical activity components (aerobic, strength, flexibility, and balance)
  • List key physical activity assessment tools
  • Describe how to collaborate with your patients to promote physical activity change
  • Identify resources for sustainable behavior change
  • List the components of writing the Exercise Prescription
  • Describe the treatment of disease with exercise as compared with medication
  • List evidence-based PA recommendations for: healthy older adults, pregnancy, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, disability, and stroke
Emotional and Mental Well-Being, Assessment and Interventions – 10%
  • Use screening tools for stress, depression and anxiety
  • Understand relationship between emotional distress and poor health
  • Describe provider role in facilitating patients’ emotional wellness
  • Point indicators in lieu of indications for referral to a mental health professional
  • Understand depression as a comorbidity for diabetes and coronary artery disease
  • Demonstrate ability to manage depression and anxiety in patients with comorbidities
  • Describe the components of emotional wellness self-management
  • Understand the role of positive psychology and its use in lifestyle medicine
  • Understand the nature of stress and identify manageable elements of pathogenic stress reactions
  • Report how mindfulness-based stress reduction contributes to medicine and healthcare
  • Report how skills of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can help patients intervene in stress reactions and better care for themselves.
  • Describe the integral and essential elements of MBSR
  • List conclusions from salient research in MBSR
  • Describe mindfulness skills that enable presence, clarity and curiosity in the clinical encounter
  • Identify the benefits of physician empathy, attunement and resonance in the clinical encounter
Sleep Health Science and Interventions – 8%
  • Understand sleep’s role in health and chronic disease
  • Identify lifestyle-based activity, dietary, environmental and coping behaviors that can improve sleep health
  • Identify at least two lifestyle adjustments related to light exposure and meal composition and timing that support improved sleep
  • Identify key factors that differentiate patient subpopulations with insufficient or poor quality sleep
  • Understand the role of light exposure and endogenous melatonin in sleep health
  • Identify 2-3 lifestyle adjustments related to light exposure that support improved sleep
  • Identify 1-2 lifestyle adjustments related to meal composition and timing that support improved sleep
Managing Tobacco Cessation and other Toxic Exposures – 8%
  • The health effects of tobacco use
  • The health benefits of tobacco cessation
  • Effective, evidence-based tobacco cessation/treatment options
  • Recommendations from the USPHS Tobacco Cessation Guideline
  • The 5 As model as a guide for tobacco cessation and other substance use brief interventions
  • Effective interventions to assist users willing to quit tobacco
  • The importance of behavior therapy with pharmacotherapy for tobacco cessation
  • Assistance for users who are currently unwilling to quit tobacco
  • Diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders
  • Screening patients for substance use and addressing any related health effects
  • Brief interventions and referrals to specialists when appropriate
The Role of Connectedness and Positive Psychology – 8%

Positive Psychology and Behavior Change

  • Apply positive psychology in motivational interviewing and health behavior change counseling.
  • Describe how positive psychology and emotional well-beings support achieving and sustaining healthy behaviors.

Life Meaning/Purpose

  • Compare and contrast eudaimonia and hedonia.
  • Explain how eudaimonia relates to physical health and including longevity.


  • Describe how connectedness and social networks effect emotional well being, physical health and longevity.
  • State the effect social media has on one’s emotional well-being.

Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors and Emotional Well-Being

  • Describe the science of how a plant-based diet impacts emotional well-being.
  • Explain how physical activity effects emotional well-being.
  • Describe the role sleep plays in emotional well-being.

Exam logistics
  • Exam duration: Maximum 4h
  • Exam items/questions: 150 multiple choice questions for Lifestyle Medicine physicians; 120 multiple choice questions for Lifestyle Medicine professionals and Lifestyle Medicine nurses
  • Format: proctored exam, using own laptop or tablet (secure online exam dissemination)

MDs and DOs:

  • Non-refundable registration fee $99 to $299*
  • Certification fee $999 to $1499

PhD and Masters Level Health Professionals:

  • Non-refundable registration fee $49 to $199*
  • Certification fee $799 to $1299

* depending on country, based on income levels

Upcoming certification
  • The next certification exams will be held as part of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine annual summit in Orlando FL, October 31st, 2019, from 8am to 12 noon
  • Recertification – The ABLM is acutely aware of the widespread dissatisfaction with the current recertification process of most medical boards. The ABLM is committed to develop a fair and reasonable recertification protocol that is based on the premise “use it or lose it”, utilizing the latest technology to track diplomate LM activities! We will make the necessary announcements at the appropriate time.