How effective is Mobile Health Coaching?

Nutrition care providers and consumers are turning to mobile health coaching to help manage chronic conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Obesity is prevalent and costly for health care systems. As of 2014, 71% of Americans are overweight, while 35% of men and 40% of women in the US are obese. In a study, researchers evaluated a mobile health coaching intervention for its effectiveness in helping participants lose weight and lower their blood pressure. The study participants were overweight adults with a body mass index of at least 25 kg/m2. Participants received intensive health coaching over the phone, through video, and through in-app text messaging over the course of four months.

A total of 1127 people downloaded the mobile health coaching application initially, and 1012 participants completed the four months of coaching. After using the application for four months, participants lost 3.23% of total body weight, on average. Of the 763 participants with weight data, 218 people (28.6%) reached a clinically significant level of weight loss of 5% or more of total body weight. One hundred and fifty-one participants provided blood pressure information as well. Of these individuals, 112 (74.2%) had a baseline blood pressure above the goal, and 55 participants (49.1%) improved their blood pressure by one hypertensive stage. The study provides evidence that digital health coaching can be used to help overweight or obese individuals lose weight and manage blood pressure. It also suggests that the use of mobile health coaching can decrease entry barriers to receiving weight management care.

Mobile health coaching can be effective in improving a range of behaviors affecting a person’s health. Lifestyle behaviors including exercise, nutrition, alcohol use and smoking are some of the most common behaviors tied to the development of chronic health conditions. These behaviors are daily habits that determine the overall state of a person’s health. A team of researchers analyzed 13 studies that looked at the impact of health coaching on improving health. The results revealed better weight management, increased physical activity, and improved physical and mental health status. In another study, researchers analyzed 15 health coaching studies and saw that 40% of participants had significant outcomes in nutrition, physical activity, weight loss, and/or medication adherence. The most effective components of the health coaching studies were goal-setting, Motivational Interviewing, and collaboration with healthcare providers.

Mobile health coaching can be an effective means to help individuals change certain lifestyle behaviors and improve their quality of life. At Root Health, we use behavior science to help people change their habits, improve their health, and reduce the risk of chronic disease through mobile, patient centered health coaching.