Corporate wellness insights

Telephonic Health Coaching Proves Effective

Posted by Matthew Benton on 02.01.2017

health coaching wellnessA recent study published in the journal Obesity once again proved the effectiveness of telephonic health coaching (not that we needed more proof!).

In this study of nearly 1,000 Kaiser Permanente members, volunteers who participated in telephone wellness coaching lost an average of 10 pounds and reversed the trend of their weight from upward to downward.

The study was designed to evaluate the impact of a telephonic coaching program on weight loss among patients whose goals were to manage their weight, improve healthy eating habits, or increase their physical activity.

How the Study Worked

Researchers reviewed the electronic medical records of nearly 1,000 Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California who participated in at least one voluntary health coaching session addressing healthy eating, active living, and weight loss strategies. Participants were then compared to a matched control group of more than 19,000 members with similar baseline weight, weight gain, and other characteristics, who did not participate in health coaching.

“We found that patients who participated in the coaching sessions lost clinically significant amounts of weight, which is so important because even a small amount of weight loss can help patients experience significant health benefits over time,” said Julie A. Schmittdiel, the study’s lead author. “And because obesity and diabetes are major health issues in the United States, behavioral interventions within clinical settings may be an important means for addressing healthy behaviors.”

Other Studies Support Coaching

This study is just the latest in a series of research conducted by the Natural Experiments for Translation in Diabetes (NEXT-D) to assess the effectiveness of health coaching:

  • In November 2015, a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that Kaiser Permanente wellness coaching participants were able to quit tobacco at higher rates than matched controls, and that their quitting rates were comparable to people who attended in-person group classes.
  • In October 2013, a study in Preventing Chronic Disease found that patient satisfaction levels with coaching were high among Kaiser Permanente members participating in two or more wellness coaching sessions. Survey results showed 70 percent were satisfied with the program, and 71 percent would recommend it to others.

If you’re interested in offering health coaching to your organization, get in touch! We’ll be happy to help.

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