Employee weight management through health coaching


OBJECTIVE: This study will evaluate the effectiveness of an interactive health coaching intervention at lowering weight. METHODS: The study involved 5405 employees aged 18–85, during 2001–2008. RESULTS: Average body mass index (BMI) significantly decreased from 32.1 at baseline to 31.4 at 3 months, 31.0 at 6 months, and 30.6 at 12 months. Decreasing BMI was more pronounced in older age groups and among women, those using weight loss medication, those with higher BMI, and those with higher motivation and confidence to make behavior changes. When the effects of these variables on the decreasing trend in BMI were simultaneously estimated, only baseline classifications of BMI, health status, and confidence remained significant. Change in BMI through 12 months was −0.7% for those with normal weight, −2.0% for overweight, −3.6% for obese, and −7.1% for morbidly obese individuals at baseline. Among morbidly obese individuals, decrease in BMI through 12 months was −7.6% for those with “high” confidence to lose weight at baseline vs −4.4% for those with low confidence. Better health status at baseline is also related to more pronounced weight loss. CONCLUSION: Interactive health coaching significantly lowered BMI among participants through 3, 6, and 12 months of follow-up.

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Correspondence to R. M. Merrill PhD, MPH.

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Merrill, R.M., Aldana, S.G. & Bowden, D.E. Employee weight management through health coaching. Eat Weight Disord 15, e52–e59 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03325280

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  • Adults
  • behavior change
  • coaching
  • program evaluation
  • quantitative research
  • weight control
  • workplace