Tags: coach | weight | loss | health

Health Coaches Boost Weight Loss

Thursday, 02 Aug 2012 12:08 PM

If you want to improve your golf or tennis game, you may hire a coach. But what if you want to lose weight? A new study suggests hiring a “health coach” can play a significant role in helping you win the battle of the bulge.
Researchers from The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center found obese participants in a low-intensity behavioral weight loss program who were supported by a professional health coach or a peer coach lost at least 5 percent of their initial body weight.
Those losses were comparable to the weight lost by individuals who participated in a more intensive program with twice as many treatment sessions, the Miriam researchers reported.
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"Our study suggests health coaches may not only yield impressive weight loss outcomes, but that lay – or peer – health coaching may be particularly promising as a cost-effective obesity treatment strategy," said Tricia M. Leahey, who led the study published online in the journal Obesity.
For the study, researchers tracked 44 participants who took part in a group weight loss program that met 12 times over the course of 24 weeks – half the amount of sessions of a traditional treatment plan.
Participants worked with one of three different types of health coaches: a professional, peer or mentor. All coaches were trained in coaching strategies.
Researchers found all three groups had significant weight losses; those with professional and peer coaches had the most success, losing more than 9 percent of their body weight on average, compared to 6 percent in the mentor group.
About one-third of American adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity and its associated health problems, including heart disease and diabetes, cost the U.S. health care system hundreds of billions of dollars each year, experts estimate.
Health coaches supplement treatment by providing ongoing support, accountability and information to promote behavior change between treatment visits.
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.
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Hiring a 'health coach' can play a significant role in helping you win the battle of the bulge, a study suggests.
Thursday, 02 Aug 2012 12:08 PM
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