Lifestyle-related disorders are the number one cause of mortality and morbidity in modern society. Most people recognize that making healthy choices is a priority because culturally available means (e.g., television, websites, magazines, newspapers) as well as scientific publications, deliver the message daily. Yet many are not willing or able to manage a meaningful behavior change to positively impact their health and wellness. The emergence of health and wellness coaching (HWC), as a discipline and profession, offers a new strategic prospect for promoting healthy behavior change. The primary purpose of this research was to conduct a randomized and controlled study of the potential for HWC to positively impact the effects of a comprehensive employer-sponsored wellness initiative. The study was conducted with over 300 participants followed for six months with HWC telephonically delivered using 30-35 min calls in three doses: 1) weekly sessions; 2) weekly sessions for three months followed by a session every other week; 3) weekly sessions for only three months. Participants (25%) were also assigned to a control and all four groups had outcome measures completed at baseline, 3 and 6 mo. Some key outcome variables included health-risk appraisal with fitness and nutrition subscales, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight. A positive impact of HWC was evident for reducing blood pressure though no other variables demonstrated a statistically significant HWC effect. The excellent wellness program offered to the employees and/or the fact that it was largely a healthy cohort may have otherwise limited the impact of HWC. The favorable HWC effect on blood pressure is highly valuable given that, in their lifetime, most people develop hypertension which contributes to circulatory disease.
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