Gary Sforzo's picture Submitted by Gary Sforzo July 31, 2017 - 3:42pm

On May 19, 2017 the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine published our article entitled “Compendium of health and wellness coaching.”   The paper, and all of the supporting spreadsheets, is available to all as an open-access publication and can be found at:

The Compendium is a thorough collection of peer-reviewed literature on the topic of health and wellness coaching (HWC).  The paper describes how the Compendium was built while also providing an overview of results presented in the HWC literature.  The authors include IOC Director of Research, Irina Todorova, IOC Co-Director Margaret Moore, IOC grant recipient Gary Sforzo, and a member of IOC Health and Wellness Coaching Board of Advisors, Beth Frates (other authors are M.P. Kaye, S. Harenberg, K. Costello, L. Kuo, A. Faber). The team drew upon operational definition of HWC developed in a 2013 systematic review, and then collected 219 articles representing a detailed compendium of most everything written in the peer-reviewed literature about HWC since 2000.  

The HWC Compendium is organized into two parts with Part A containing 150 data-based research papers and Part B containing 69 commentary/position/review papers.  The Compendium is current through June of 2016 and each part (A and B) is sub-divided into categories for cancer, cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and wellness.  

The columns of Part A spreadsheet provide the reader with many details about each article, including a brief critique and results. The number of HWC papers on obesity and diabetes management are greater than 30 and about half are randomized and controlled trials (RCT) – the type of research often cited as the most powerful and convincing.  The Wellness category also contains over 30 articles but within it resides several topics too small to be given a separate category.  In Wellness you can find HWC papers on fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma, as well as numerous papers on risk-factor reduction (e.g., smoking cessation).  The point is, no matter what kind of HWC research information you seek, the Compendium is organized to help you find what you need.

There is a lot to learn from perusing and exploring the Compendium. The Results Summary provided in each patient/client category generally support the positive benefits of HWC. The findings are particularly well-detailed in diabetic and obese patients. Although less extensive, the potential quality of life benefits from HWC for cancer patients is also impressive.  While the authors do provide some cautionary critique and call for more research, the consensus theme speaks of advantages gained through HWC intervention.

A major purpose of the Compendium is to assist health and wellness coaches as well as researchers of HWC.  The information in the Compendium can be used to understand how different client/patient presentations are helped by HWC and to potentially get ideas on coaching protocols.  For someone interested in doing HWC research, the Compendium is an invaluable resource for searching literature and helping to identify gaps in the HWC research.  In other words, the Compendium is a new tool available to help the HWC profession.  


  1. Sforzo, G.A., Kaye MP, Torodova, I, et al.  Compendium of health and wellness coaching. Am J Lifestyle Med. Published On-line First.  doi: 10.1177/1559827617708562.