Ten guidelines for a healthy life: Korean Medical Association statement (2017).
December 15, 2017 148 p (in English)

Progress Report and Acknowledgments


The Korean Medical Association (KMA) is South Korea’s largest and most-trusted decision-making organization, made up of Korean physicians with a vision of being “Trustworthy experts for 100 years of healthy life.” The KMA strives to fulfill its vision in accordance with its mission statement: “As professionals, we respect the dignity of human life and value of healthy living, and we practice the art of medicine to the best of our medical abilities and with the highest standard of ethics to safeguard the nation’s right to health and medical treatment.” The KMA provides the latest medical knowledge to its member physicians and represents primary care (including private practices), secondary, and tertiary care institutions, thereby mediating opinions among institutions. The KMA also assists in developing and implementing appropriate and effective medical policies by collaborating with medical administrative agencies such as the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, and the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service.

In the 70 years since the first KMA Congress was held in 1947, academic societies and other organizations relevant to the KMA, as well as policy planners and the public have all participated in KMA Congresses. These meetings have made significant contributions to medical advancements and to communication between the medical field and the public. The KMA Congress is the largest medical conference in Korea, and is held every 3 years. The 35th KMA Congress in 2017 set its focus as “Future Medicine and Healthy Aging,” with the goal of establishing a new medical paradigm that advocates for the public interest and fosters social awareness.

To achieve this goal, a plan was made to publish “Ten guidelines for a healthy life: Korean Medical Association statement (2017),” a preparation team was formed, and the first meeting was held on November 30, 2016. In order to draft the 10 guidelines, Jong-chan Lee, a medical specialist in gastroenterology in the Department of Internal Medicine at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, conducted a systematic literature review through multiple channels: 1) international organizations related to health (WHO, OECD, AHC, etc.); 2) governmental agencies of different countries (United States’ HHS, United Kingdom’s Department of Health, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and Germany’s Federal Centre for Health Education); 3) top-ranking medical schools and hospitals (Johns Hopkins, Mayo, UCSF, Stanford, MGH, etc.); 4) Korean medical societies (KMA, the Korean Society of Nephrology, Korean Diabetes Association, etc.); and 5) other well-known physicians’ blogs and similar online resources.

This review indicated that organizations rarely proposed comprehensive health guidelines on a group/organizational/institutional level and that the few proposals containing recommendations divided into items were limited to nutrition-based or disease-specific information such as cancer/diabetes prevention. With these results, the preparation team wrote the first draft, which contained 12 items, as the first step in developing a comprehensive and practical declaration for the entire public. On January 12, 2017, the preparation team held their second meeting, integrated additional research data, and finalized the “Ten guidelines for a healthy life: Korean Medical Association statement (2017).” These guidelines are: 1) quitting smoking, 2) drinking in moderation, 3) eating a balanced diet, 4) being physically active, 5) having a regular sleep schedule, 6) thinking positively, 7) receiving routine health screenings and immunizations, 8) managing stress, 9) paying attention to particulate matter and emerging infectious diseases, and 10) avoiding excessive exposure to mobile devices.

The preparation team held their third meeting on February 28, 2017 and decided to develop slogans representing the 10 guidelines (1 slogan for each guideline) and a set of best practices to follow (3 practices per guideline). With the help of KBS News medical correspondent Kwang Shik Park, the team adopted 3 principles to use for selecting a total of 40 sentences for the slogans and practices to follow: first, consider current conditions in Korea; second, use easy and simple language; and third, give assurance to the people that each guideline is an ‘all-in-one’ source of information. During the fourth 10 guidelines preparation team meeting held on March 20, 2017, a total of 40 sentences for slogans representing the 10 guidelines (1 slogan for each guideline) and a set of practices to follow (3 per guideline) were selected, and a professional copywriter revised the language to make it easily understandable to the general public. Furthermore, rather than issuing “Ten guidelines for a healthy life: Korean Medical Association statement (2017)” as a one-time-only declaration, the team decided to publish it in the format of a book to help the general public continue practicing healthy living at all ages.

The content of the book goes beyond a simple list of 40 sentences; it includes details on each principle and steps to take, and contains references; thus, it meets both the objectives of being a book that is accessible to the general public and of having scholarly value. During the fifth meeting on April 28, 2017, Nayoung Kim, Bossng Kang, and Tae Won Min (a reporter for the Kukmin Daily Newspaper) selected the final 40 sentences from the 160 sentences drafted by the professional copywriter and medical specialist Jong-chan Lee. Then, the authors who were to write each guideline were notified of the final 40 sentences. The authors revised the 4 sentences corresponding to each guideline, and then they started to write the content in detail. Finally, the cover was chosen and the content for each guideline was circulated among many professionals in the field, academic societies, and related organizations for further revisions before the final publication.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Professor Hee Man Kim of Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju Severance Christian Hospital, who generously devoted his time despite his many obligations and helped edit and review all the manuscripts, discovered contradictory content, and cross-checked the evidence for each sentence. We would also like to thank Secretary General Won-Chul Lee, who has given us continuous strong support. We also appreciate Professor Jun Soo Kwon for willingly drafting 4 of the 10 guidelines, Yonhapnews Agency reporter Kilwon Kim for initially providing the idea and setting up the framework for this project, Kukmin Daily Newspaper reporter Tae Won Min for the extensive help in drafting the 40 sentences, and Professor Bossng Kang, who assisted us greatly in drafting the guidelines for smoking and alcohol cessation.

Finally, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all the authors who participated in writing the 10 guidelines; this project was a great opportunity to present Korea’s advanced level of medical science and its dedication to society. Furthermore, we believe that a revised edition of the book with content updated based on the latest medical research will be published before the next KMA Congress, which will be held in another 3 years, in order to continuously provide the general public with practical guidelines. We hope that active assistance from the KMA will help make this book readily available to more people to assist them in practicing a healthy lifestyle.

Nayoung Kim

Director of Academic Affairs, Korean Medical Association

Vice Secretary General of the 35th Scientific Congress of the KMA

TFT Committee Chair of the “Ten guidelines for a healthy life:

Korean Medical Association statement (2017)”