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Health coaches could be key to successful weight loss, study suggests
Date:7/30/2012

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) Coaches can help athletes score touchdowns and perfect their golf swing, but can they also influence weight loss? Researchers from The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center say health coaches could play an important role in the battle of the bulge, according to the findings of a pilot study published online in the journal Obesity.

In the first study of its kind, obese individuals participating in a low-intensity behavioral weight loss program who were supported by either a professional health coach or a peer coach lost clinically significant amounts of weight (at least 5 percent of their initial body weight). These weight losses are comparable to the amount of weight lost by patients participating in a more intensive behavioral intervention with twice as many treatment sessions.

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

Obesity remains a common, serious and costly disease in the United States. About one-third of American adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and no state has met the nation's Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15 percent. Obesity and its associated health problems, including heart disease and diabetes, continue to have a significant economic impact on the U.S. health care system, costing the nation hundred
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Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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