Many major health care organizations offer health and wellness
coaching programs for their members. Kaiser Permanente offers voluntary
wellness coaching by phone to all its members nationwide for no
additional fee, specifically targeting weight management, healthy
eating, physical activity, tobacco cessation and stress reduction.
coaching is provided by masters-level health professionals who are
trained in evidence-based coaching methods, including motivational
‘Kaiser Permanente members who voluntarily participated in individual wellness coaching by telephone for weight management lost an average of 10 pounds each and changed their weight trajectories from upward to downward.’
Kaiser Permanente members who voluntarily participated in individual
wellness coaching by telephone for weight management lost an average of
10 pounds each and changed their weight trajectories from upward to
downward, suggested a new study published in the journal Obesity
The study was designed to evaluate the impact of a real-world
telephonic coaching program on weight loss among patients whose goals
were to manage their weight, improve healthy eating habits or increase
their physical activity.
For this study, researchers reviewed the electronic medical records
of nearly 1,000 Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California who
participated in at least one voluntary wellness coaching session to
address 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 wellness 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, research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California
Division of Research and 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."
"Since the wellness coaching program was launched in Northern
California in 2010, we have learned that our members appreciate the
opportunity to receive lifestyle coaching on their own schedules by
phone," said co-author Nancy Goler, Kaiser Permanente Northern
California associate executive director and former director of the
Wellness Coaching Center. "Now we have strong evidence that coaching may
be helping members to live healthier lives."
The current research is the latest study in a series conducted by
the Natural Experiments for Translation in Diabetes (NEXT-D) to assess
the effectiveness of wellness coaching in a large, integrated health
care system. 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 (31% vs. 23%) and that their quitting rates were comparable to
people who attended in-person group classes.
Likewise, a study in Preventing Chronic Disease
2013 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% were satisfied with
the program and 71% would recommend it to others.