Lifestyle Medicine Program

The Lifestyle Medicine Program is designed to complement the high level of medical care provided at Toronto General Hospital to adults living with Fontan circulation and systemic right ventricle by integrating Rehabilitation and Preventive Medicine into the care of these patients.

The program was developed on current models of cardiac rehabilitation. A cardiac rehabilitation program is a personalized outpatient program of exercise and education. The Lifestyle Medicine Program is designed to specifically support young adult living with heart disease to improve their health through exercise training and education about heart-healthy lifestyle. 

What is our goal?

Our goals: to use personalized lifestyle counselling and exercise prescription and/or recommendations to: 

  • Improve cardiovascular fitness and musculoskeletal function 
  • Improve knowledge of heart-healthy behaviours
  • Reduce future health risks

Who are we?

The Lifestyle Medicine Program was launched in 2022 through a collaboration with the Exercise Medicine Program at SickKids. Healthcare providers from both the SickKids Labatt Family Heart Centre and the UHN Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program developed this program. The team includes physicians and kinesiologists with expertise in cardiac rehabilitation and preventative medicine and was designed for young adults with congenital heart disease.

Team Members
Dr. Barbara Cifra
Dr. Paul Oh

What do we do?

We provide lifestyle counseling and we deliver individualized lifestyle programs based on a comprehensive clinical and functional evaluation for young adults living with heart disease. 

The comprehensive clinical and functional evaluation includes: 

Biometric Assessment 

  • Height, weight and body mass index (BMI). 
  • Body composition — Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). 

Cardiovascular Assessment 

  • Cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) in order to evaluate their working and exercise capacity. 

Strength Assessment

  • Evaluation of muscle performance with specific attention on strength and flexibility. 


  • Patients will be asked to complete quality of life and activity questionnaires. 

The Program

The Lifestyle Medicine Program is a 4-months program provided in two formats: virtual home-based program and hybrid onsite-remote program.

  • Virtual Home-Based Program: patients will attend a monthly physician lead 1:1 consultation session. 
  • Hybrid Onsite and Remote Program: patients will attend a combination of onsite and remote sessions with physicians and kinesiologits. 

Contact Us

If you have any questions related to the Lifestyle Medicine Program please contact Dr. Cifra



More Resources 

UHN ACHD Lifestyle Medicine Program educational pages:

Reading on the importance of exercise for ACHD patients:

Reading on exercise and the Fontan Circulation on the Fontan Outcomes Network page:

Patient’s perspective “My experience with exercise”

Selection of free webinars on exercise, healthy living and healthy eating from the Adult Congenital Heart Association:

  1. Exercise from testing to treatment
  2. Exercise with CHD
  3. Move Those Feet: Healthy Living with CHD
  4. Keep On Moving: Physical Activity and Cardiac Rehab in the Adult with CHD
  5. Healthy Lifestyle Series: New Year Yoga
  6.  Cardiovascular Health in ACHD Patients: Are You at Risk?
  7. Managing Coronary Artery Risk Factors in Adults with CHD
  8. Women's Health in Adult Congenital Heart Disease
  9. Nutrition Pearls for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)