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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Health Coaches To Help Fight Obesity? Could Be Cost Effective

Only if the rest of us don't have to pay for them.
Coaches have always had an important influence on improving athletic skills and guiding athletes to their greatest potential. Can a similar type of coach have the same influence on patients battling obesity?

According to the findings of a recent pilot study by researchers from the Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, health coaches can play an important role in weight loss.

Obesity is a serious and costly disease in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of American adults are obese. Obesity is not only a health problem, but also has severe impacts on the nation's health care system, costing millions of dollars every year.

In the first study of its kind, the volunteers who took part in a low-intensity behavioral weight loss program, and were supported by either a peer coach or a health professional coach, were found to have impressive results regarding weight loss (5% or more of their initial body weight).

Lead author Tricia M. Leahey, Ph.D., of The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center says:

"Although these findings are only preliminary, it's encouraging that lay health coaches successfully supplemented a less intensive, lower cost behavioral intervention and that their weight losses were actually comparable to those produced by professional coaches - something that could be critical in this changing health care landscape."

Health coaches serve as ongoing support, accountability, and provide information and promote behavioral change outside of treatment visits.
"Ongoing support" is a buzzterm for the fat who lost weight, will regain it.

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