Our Vision

What we consider important , why it is important, and how we want to achieve it. You can also find our nutrition vision on this page.


We want to ensure that future doctors use preventive and curative nutrition and lifestyle interventions in medical consults as part of the treatment and prevention of complaints and diseases. To achieve this we want to implement more education about nutrition and lifestyle in medical education. We also offer medical students an extracurricular course: the SELF-course.

In addition, we want (future) doctors to become (more) aware of their role in individual and social lifestyle change, and to take their own lifestyle into account.


Society screams: who offers clarity about nutrition and lifestyle? How far can I believe all vloggers and self-help books? What is the influence of my diet and lifestyle pattern on my health and / or illness? Are there options to take less medication? Who can guide me in addressing my lifestyle and reducing medication? Who helps me to tackle part of my illness - my lifestyle - instead of treating symptoms through medication?

The doctor is usually a central point of contact in this, and therefore has a crucial signaling and referring function. Both the specialist who sees dozens of patients every day, and the general practitioner to whom people often ask questions about lifestyle problems. Moreover, research shows that patients have the most confidence in their doctor about health and lifestyle advice. Remarkable, given that less than 4% of medical education consists of nutrition and lifestyle, showed by our research research at all medical faculties. This in contrast to the fact that 50% of all diseases are lifestyle- related. Moreover, 80% of the medical interns (Dutch: coassistenten) aan meer onderwijs over voeding en leefstijl te willen. Ondertussen stijgen de cijfers over leefstijl gerelateerde ziektes de pan uit. Hoog tijd dat we daar in de gezondheidszorg sector gezamenlijk wat aan gaan doen. Het lijkt erop dat de politiek ook steeds meer aandacht gaat geven aan preventieve geneeskunde, om de stijgende zorgkosten te drukken. Extra budget voor leefstijlgeneeskunde zou natuurlijk mooi zijn, maar uiteindelijk begint een verandering in de zorg bij een verandering in de opleiding van de toekomstige artsen. Het is belangrijk dat artsen (van de toekomst) zich bekwaam genoeg voelen om voeding- en leefstijl toe te passen in de praktijk. Meer kennis en onderwijs hierover is de sleutel. 

For this reason, the Student and Lifestyle is committed to changing the medicine curriculum. This involves thorough basic knowledge of nutrition and lifestyle, a doctor does not have to become the new dietitian or lifestyle coach.

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The Facts:

  • In 2018, 50.2% of Dutch people aged 18 or older were overweight (BMI> 25), of which 15.0% were obese (BMI> 30). It is estimated that by 2040 the percentage of overweight people will rise to 62%.
  • 5% of the Dutch population would qualify for bariatric surgery based on their BMI.
  • More than 1 million Dutch people have type II diabetes, 50.000-65.000 are added every year.
  • TNO has shown that savings in medical costs of 2.7 billion euros in 5 years are possible if 40% of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus go into remission.
  • Approximately 7.5 million Dutch people have one or more chronic condition.
  • In 2015, the average life expectancy of a Dutch person was 81.5 years. THis is expected to increase in the coming years. However, the years that we live without chronic illness will not increase. This means that people will - on avarage - live longer with a chronic disease. 
  • Studies show that a large part of chronic diseases can be attributed directly or indirectly to lifestyle. Some studies even state 70-90%!
  • 50% of adults suffer from a chronic condition that is primarily or partly the result of lack of exercise, chronic obesity, poor nutrition, alcohol or drugs, lack of sleep or chronic stress.
  • More than 1 million Dutch people take antidepressants.

These facts show that lifestyle-related diseases are a problem now and in the future. Action must be taken to stop the increasing amount of chronic diseases 

Sources: RIVM, staatvenz.nl, vzinfo.nl, statline.cbs.nl, Stichting Farmaceutische Kengetallen (SFK), TNO


As a foundation we provide:

  • At each faculty, a workgroup consisting of various professionals (including doctors, scientists, sport scientists, paramedics, medical students, educationalists), which is engaged in implementation in medical training.
  • Supporting program directors and coordinators in the implementation of Lifestyle Medicine and Positive Health through collaboration between Student & Lifestyle, Arts & Leefstijl and the institute for positive health..
  • An annual extra-curricular course Students Experienced in Lifestyle and Food (SELF) at all medical faculties in the Netherlands.
  • Een community voor SELF-alumni, oud-bestuursleden, studenten en jonge dokters met interesse in Leefstijlgeneeskunde. Zij worden hier met elkaar verbonden en geïnformeerd over bijvoorbeeld stages en wetenschappelijke literatuur.
  • Developing (digital) education about nutrition and lifestyle in collaboration with various parties.


Other social projects:

  • Het beschikbaar stellen van de Students Experienced in Lifestyle and Food (SELF) cursus aan HAIO’s en arts-assistenten
  • Contributing to the social debate about lifestyle medicine through contact with partner organizations, which has led, for example, to a joint vision on nutrition , and through media and politics, both nationally and internationally.


  • More than 1500 participants in our extra-curricular SELF course.
  • Lifestyle medicine is included in the Dutch medical education famework plan: Raamplan Artsopleiding 2020.
  • Development of our knowledge synthesis on nutrition and lifestyle, a document that summarizes what is currently offered in the curriculum in lifestyle medicine at the different faculties. In the autumn of 2019 it was published and presented at the annual conference of the Dutch Association for Medical Education (NVMO).

Vision on Nutrition

We are regularly asked what is our vision on healthy nutrition. Although we as an organization are not in favor of providing specific nutritional advice, we do think it important to steer our followers in the right direction and to facilitate them in finding scientifically substantiated information. That is why we formulated a vision on nutrition together with our partners Voeding Leeft and Arts en Leefstijl .

We argue that eating patterns and eating habits are of more importance than individual foods. Therefore, we don’t provide a list of foods with what you “can and cannot” eat. Nor are we looking at absolute amounts or micro and macronutrients. We assume that human health is not only based on the intake of individual nutrients, but of a total of them. In addition, the influence of diet on your health is strongly linked to other lifestyle factors such as exercise, sleep and relaxing or stress.

To bring this in practice, we choose food that is industrially produced, prepared or refined as little as possible. Plant-based nutrition forms the basis, with lots of vegetables and in addition fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, (extra virgin) olive oil and whole grains. We use unprocessed animal products to a lesser extent. We advise people to put together satisfying main meals, to eat enough food and to avoid snacks.