According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most chronic diseases could be prevented or reversed through changes in lifestyle. But making those changes can be challenging. Habits—good or bad—are created over time and it takes time to change. An article published by The American Psychological Association says, “Lifestyle changes are a process that take time and require support.” The article explains that having a supportive resource can strengthen a person’s resilience and commitment for long-term habit change.
A study by The Permanente Medical Group supports this approach. Members of the medical group who received wellness coaching experienced significant weight loss as compared to a control group that received no coaching. The study also found that coaching can improve outcomes for people with chronic disease, as well as lower medical costs and hospitalizations.
At Newtopia, we understand the role of coaching as a means to prevent metabolic risk factors that can lead to chronic disease. We recently conducted a survey of individuals who had participated in our habit change program for one full year. One of our goals was to evaluate the interaction between participants and our coaches, which we refer to as “Inspirators.” At the beginning of the program, participants were matched to an Inspirator based on their personality and preferences. Throughout the program, participants regularly engaged with their dedicated Inspirator through video connections. The results speak for themselves.
The following represents the percentage of respondents who ranked their Inspirator as an 8 – 10 on each item (on a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being “Extremely Poor” and 10 being “Excellent”):
- 91% – My Inspirator is helpful
- 90% – My Inspirator is a good match
- 83% – My Inspirator inspires me to increase daily exercise and be more active
To understand the full implications of this response, it’s important to note that the survey was conducted during the initial lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay-at-home and social distancing orders were accompanied by the closing of places like gyms, YMCAs, yoga studios, and other health and wellness facilities. This was a particularly difficult transition for many people, one that brought with it emotional challenges that resulted in unhealthy habits like stress eating or eating out of boredom.
Employers seeking to prevent chronic disease prevelance and reduce skyrocketing medical costs should look for a disease prevention program that includes personalized coaching focused on improving long-term habit change. LS&Co. is a prime example. The company offered employees the opportunity to join the Newtopia program. Each employee was matched with a dedicated Inspirator to provide one-on-one support. They also received:
- Genetic testing to identify how to provide lifestyle recommendations based on each person’s genetic composition
- Smart scale to make tracking weight easier
- Smartphone app to track progress, engage with Inspirator, participate in social groups, and review goals
- Personalized program to fit the participant’s unique needs and goals
- 90% active engagement after 6 months
- 4.0% weight loss at month 6 for the majority of participants
- 81% reported positive changes in their habits
- 85% were tracking toward their goal with the help of their Inspirator
- 82% said they would recommend Newtopia to others
Coaching Supports Long-term Habit Change
According to the American Psychological Association, “Having someone with whom to share your struggles and successes makes the work easier and the mission less intimidating.” Change is difficult, especially when it involves long-standing habits. That may be one of the reasons why chronic disease is so prevalent in our society. Having a trusted coach who is also an expert at habit change and health improvement skills—like those at Newtopia—can make all the difference. Learn more about how it works here.