January 11-17th has received Congressional recognition as National Health Coach Week (U.S. House of Representatives H. Res. 552).
Would you be surprised to learn that:
- men die 6 years younger on average than women;
- children now have life expectancies 5 years less than their parents;
- more than 1/3 (34.9%) of U.S. adults are obese;
- over 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes;
- obesity and diabetes lead to other serious health issues like blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke;
- 40% of Americans are sleep deprived;
- 20-40% of deaths in the U.S. could be prevented; and
- all of the above are preventable!
The United States faces a health crisis due in large part to the prevalence of costly chronic conditions, which are largely brought on by poor lifestyle choices.
In the U.S. alone, $4 trillion will be spent on health care just this year. Only 2% goes towards prevention.
The current healthcare paradigm depends on invasive surgeries and medications to manage symptoms rather than identifying and preventing the root cause of illness. Food, exercise, sleep, stress management – these day-to-day choices are vitally important, but healthcare providers simply don’t have the time for long term follow-up.
Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable illnesses are at the heart of the current health crisis, and health coaches are poised to make a real difference.
Health coaches work with their clients to make sizable shifts from unhealthy habits to sustainable habits for long-lasting health. Health coaches are playing a significant role in reducing lifestyle-related chronic diseases and their work significantly reduces medical costs.
Lifestyle-related chronic diseases are a significant part of the current health crisis in the United States. Simply, those that adhere to healthful diet, physical activity and lower stress have lower risks of all illnesses than those that do not. Healthful lifestyles play a vital role in the prevention of chronic disease and mental and physical ailments; and the escalating cost of lifestyle-related disease is estimated to comprise approximately 75% of our health care dollars.
It is vital that Health and Wellness Coaches continue to expand their good work, the nation needs it.
Representative Tim Ryan, letter
Evidence for Health Coaches
An increasing number of studies are showing that health coaching improves outcomes and is highly effective in improving people’s health. One such study is highlighted in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes—Health Coaching in Diabetes: Empowering Patients to Self-Manage.
The Health Council of Canada promotes self-management support which they define as the “systematic provision of education and supportive interventions, by healthcare staff (and others) to increase the patients’ skills and conﬁdence in managing their health problems, including regular assessment of progress and problems, goal setting and problem-solving support.”
Health coaches are therefore considered as vital partners to healthcare professionals, trained to engage in interactions that are focused on the patient’s concerns and in which the patient is listened to and helped to work through their issues. The role of the health coach is to collaborate with the patient to inform and support him/her in making the best possible self-management decisions and to facilitate patient adherence and to follow up on the patients’ choices.
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H. RES. 552
Expressing support for health and wellness coaches and “National Health and Wellness Coach Recognition Week”.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
December 3, 2015
Mr. Payne (for himself, Mr. Mullin, Mr. Buchanan, Mrs. Napolitano, and Mr. Ryan of Ohio) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Expressing support for health and wellness coaches and “National Health and Wellness Coach Recognition Week”.
- Whereas, January 11, 2016, through January 17, 2016, is “National Health and Wellness Coach Recognition Week”;
- Whereas lifestyle-related chronic diseases are at the heart of the current health care crisis in the United States;
- Whereas the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deemed chronic disease “the public health challenge of the 21st century”;
- Whereas decades of research have linked lifestyle factors, such as inactivity, poor diet, tobacco smoking, and sustained stress, with increased risk for major illnesses and death;
- Whereas attempts to reduce these lifestyle-related chronic disease and costs have proven to be financially unsustainable within a system that rewards hospitalizations and invasive procedures;
- Whereas incentives for interventions and technologies that achieve desired outcomes such as outpatient care, risk management, patient support, and health coaching should be encouraged;
- Whereas a large gap exists between health care provider recommendations and sustainable health-related behavior change;
- Whereas health coaches are a new type of health care worker who serve as wellness guides and supportive mentors that motivate individuals to cultivate positive health choices and move them toward those specific goals;
- Whereas health coaches serve a vital role in improving an individual’s wellness that complements and does not replace the work of health care professionals; and
- Whereas there are an increasing number of studies that show the effectiveness of health and wellness coaches in improving individual health and wellness and reducing health care costs: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
- supports the designation of “National Health and Wellness Coach Recognition Week”; and
- support the efforts of health and wellness coaches of the United States on their important work to improve the health and wellness of the Nation.