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Lifestyle Medicine for Teens

Time limit: 365 days


Full course description

In this Lifestyle Medicine Microcredential, high school age students learn the core concepts of Lifestyle Medicine to use when moving from childhood to adulthood to sustain or improve their health and wellbeing. Upon completing this course, high school-age students gain knowledge and skills to facilitate their own mindset and behavior change to generate sustainable healthy lifestyles which prevent or treat disease, and foster well-being and thriving.

Lifestyle Medicine is the use of evidence-based lifestyle behaviors including a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connection to achieve optimal health and prevent chronic disease. Lifestyle Medicine is important because 80% or more of all health care spending in the U.S. is tied to the treatment of conditions rooted in unhealthy lifestyle choices. Diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and multiple types of cancer are among the most common and costly of all health conditions but they are also preventable through lifestyle medicine.

Estimated Hours to Complete: 20

Providing this information to high schoolers can help prevent these issues because Lifestyle Medicine addresses root causes by focusing on building lifestyle choices that prevent these diseases from occurring in the next generation. When implemented, lifestyle medicine can work at all three levels of public health prevention to prevent, treat, and even reverse these conditions. This microcredential allows high schoolers to learn about and establish healthy habits early on fostering a healthy lifestyle that supports whole-health concepts


To be eligible for this microcredential, the student must be enrolled in a public, private, or home high school and have attended school for at least 90% of the time in the fall or spring semester preceding the date of application. Students must be in good academic standing, express an interest in lifestyle health, and be available and committed to participating in all training activities.

To preview the microcredential requirements (and preview how the microcredential will appear in your ePortfolio after completion), follow this link: Lifestyle Medicine for Teens

Enrollment in this microcredential course additionally grants lifelong access to the Portfolium ePortfolio tool, which you can use to publicly display your microcredentials after completion.

Course Faculty:

Teresa Wagner's profile photo

Teresa Wagner, DrPH, MS, CPH, RD/LD, CPPS, CHWI, DipACLM, CHWC

Dr. Wagner is a registered and licensed dietitian with a doctorate in public health. She’s certified in Public Health, Patient Safety, Lifestyle Medicine, Health Coaching and a certified Community Health Worker Instructor. Dr. Wagner has delivered multiple programs, speaking engagements and trainings on health literacy issues. Additionally, she established both a multi-stakeholder health literacy collaborative with the DFW Hospital Council Foundation and Health Literacy Texas, a statewide nonprofit.

Her research focuses on alleviating health disparities in underserved communities through health literacy to improve population health. As a result of her work, she has received both the 2018 Texas Health Literacy Hero Award as well as the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas Christian University. In 2022, she was one of 25 National Institute of Health researchers selected to study the use of artificial intelligence to abate health disparities. Currently, she teaches Health Literacy & Communication in the Personal Health & Wellbeing Program.

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Debbie Gillespie, EdD, MS, RDN/LD, NBC-HWC, ACC, Dip ACLM

Dr. Debbie Gillespie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Personalized Health & Well-Being. She is one of the first International Board of Lifestyle Medicine certified registered and licensed dietitians with over 30 years of experience across a broad spectrum of dietetics including clinical, oncology and cardiovascular research, renal, health promotion and public health education. She earned her B.S. in Dietetics from Miami University, an M.S. in Medical Dietetics from Saint Louis University, and an EdD in Health Professions Education from A.T. Still University. She is also a certified health coach and faculty for Wellcoaches with advanced International Coach Federation training. She served as the founding Interim Chair of the Department of Lifestyle Health Sciences, Program Director for the Graduate Certificate in Lifestyle Health, and has been a leader in providing nutrition, emotional intelligence, culinary, and lifestyle medicine education at HSC. She enjoys traveling and learning about different countries and cultures and is passionate about nutrition education and health coaching.

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Misti Zablosky, PhD, LAT

Before joining UNTHSC Dr. Zablosky worked as an Associate Professor of Health and Wellness at Paul Quinn College. While there, she developed and implemented curriculum for a new Bachelor’s degree program in Health and Wellness. Dr. Zablosky is interested in how health and wellness coaching can be used to help others implement physical activity into their daily lives. She currently chairs the Department of Personal Health & Well-Being in the School of Health Professions and serves as the program manager for FitSteps.

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