Two new studies suggest that providing one-on-one attention may help some individuals improve their health.
Nationwide Better Health, an arm of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio, supplied the health coaching services that researchers used to study the effectiveness of individualized wellness programs.
One study, conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University, involved a sample of Vanderbilt employees who had heart disease risk factors.
Researchers put some employees in a control group. Those employees received one feedback session with a nurse about their risk factors and also received information about and access to Vanderbilt’s free worksite health promotion programs.
The other employees were enrolled in Nationwide Better Health’s health coaching program.
A measure of heart attack risk, the Framingham 10-year coronary heart disease risk score, dropped 4% for the employees in the control group and 23% for the employees in the health coaching program, the researchers found.
The second study, conducted by Dr. Neil Gordon of Nationwide Better Health and researchers at Emory University, examined the effects of health coaching on the blood pressure of 2,478 individuals with slightly elevated blood pressure.
The individuals received health coaching for 6 months.
About 38% of the health coaching program participants brought their blood pressure down to normal levels without taking blood pressure-lowering medications, Nationwide Better Health says.