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The Crucial Role of Routine in Health and Lifestyle Medicine

From the Desk of Serghio Adams, CEO of Brothers Building Blocks

Dear Brothers Building Blocks community,

I trust this message finds you all in good health and high spirits. Today, I wanted to share some insights from an enlightening article titled "The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine" by Katherine R. Arlinghaus, MS, RD, and Craig A. Johnston, PhD.

In the realm of lifestyle medicine, one of the most significant challenges we face is patient adherence. The inherent nature of lifestyle diseases demands long-term prevention and treatment, making long-term adherence to lifestyle medicine recommendations absolutely crucial. Arlinghaus and Johnston advocate for a shift in focus – instead of solely emphasizing immediate adherence, they propose the development of routines to slowly and effectively incorporate health changes into one's life.

The article delves into the idea that the term "lifestyle change" inherently implies the formation of habits and the establishment of a routine. A routine, as defined, involves repeated behaviors that require minimal conscious thought. In the context of health, this could include habitual consumption of nutritious foods, regular physical activity, and consistent sleep patterns.

The structured day hypothesis, as discussed by Weaver and colleagues, is an intriguing perspective. It suggests that when days are less structured, such as during the summer months when school is out, individuals, especially children, are more prone to engage in obesogenic behaviors. This further emphasizes the importance of routine, not only for adults but also for the overall well-being of our younger generations.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Routine is Not Just for Children:

  • The importance of routine extends beyond childhood. Observational research indicates that individuals in good health engage in highly routine health behaviors. For instance, those successful at maintaining weight loss often adhere to consistent eating habits, exercise routines, and meal schedules.

  1. Adherence Challenges in Lifestyle Medicine:

  • Patient adherence is a significant challenge in lifestyle medicine, with only about 50% of patients estimated to adhere to their long-term treatment plans. Nonadherence to lifestyle changes poses a critical issue, given that chronic diseases, by definition, require long-term management.

  1. Forming a Routine Takes Time:

  • Forming a routine is a process that varies widely between individuals. While habits take an average of 66 days to form, the complexity of behaviors required for disease prevention suggests that establishing routines may take considerably longer.

  1. Turning Adherence into Routine:

  • To turn adherence into routine, health care providers can assist patients in creating structure in their day. This involves minimizing the number of decisions patients need to make and helping them plan out health-related decisions in advance.


  • Weaver RG, Beets MW, Brazendale K, Brusseau TA. Summer weight gain and fitness loss: causes and potential solutions. Am J Lifestyle Med. doi: 10.1177/1559827617750576.

  • Brazendale K, Beets MW, Weaver RG, et al. Understanding differences between summer vs. school obesogenic behaviors of children: the structured days hypothesis. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017;14:100. doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0555-2.

  • Baranowski T, O’Connor T, Johnston C, et al. School year versus summer differences in child weight gain: a narrative review. Child Obes. 2014;10:18-24. doi: 10.1089/chi.2013.0116.

Conclusion: Establishing a routine is a key factor in long-term adherence to health recommendations. By helping patients build a routine around lifestyle changes, rather than expecting them to conform to specific recommendations, we can potentially increase long-term adherence. However, it's essential to recognize that routines take time to establish, and the gradual incorporation of one or two changes at a time is more sustainable and likely to yield positive results.

In our journey toward health and well-being, let us strive to make routine a cornerstone of our daily lives. Remember, small, consistent changes can lead to profound, lasting impacts on our overall health.

Wishing you all continued success in your health and wellness pursuits.

Best regards,

Serghio Adams

CEO, Brothers Building Blocks

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