Luis Gonzales SHFWire

Adam Buckalew, deputy chief of staff for Rep. Donald Payne Jr., says health and wellness coaches can help prevent illness or their clients.

Health, wellness coaches help keep New Year’s resolutions

January 20, 2016

WASHINGTON – Studies show that just 8 percent of Americans are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolution. Hiring a health and wellness coach is an alternative that can help people set smart health-related resolutions and stick to them.

The Men’s Health Caucus, established by Reps. Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J., and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., highlighted the work done by the people in this profession at a briefing Monday sponsored by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

“Prevention is the key,” Adam Buckalew, Payne’s deputy chief of staff, said. “Health and wellness coaches do a phenomenal job of bringing that message to the folks that we all have the privilege to serve.”

The purpose of the Men’s Health Caucus is to improve men’s health. Health and wellness coaches are one of the ways the group believes it can help men overcome the trends of poor health management that can affect more than just men.

“Our primary goal is to bring awareness to men’s health issues, but men’s health is not just something that affects men. It impacts their wives. It impacts their children,” Buckalew said.

According to the Center for Disease Control, over a third of U.S. adults are obese. Obesity can cause conditions such as heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes, which are some of the leading causes of preventable death. The CDC also reports that between 20 percent and 40 percent of the yearly deaths in the United States could be prevented.

Making the right choices can be crucial when it comes to preventing and recovering from illness, but it is not something that comes easily to some people, and that is when a health and wellness coach can be  helpful.

“While we have a fantastic health-care system after one gets disease, what we try to do is work with our clients to prevent disease from ever happening,” said Holli Thompson, a health and wellness coach.

Coaches also focus on a holistic approach to a person’s life.

“It’s not just diet, it’s not just fitness, it’s not just meditation,” Thompson said. “It’s a combination.”

Coaches offer services to groups and individuals, in person or electronically. Services can cost from $49 per person for one-time group meetings to thousands of dollars for multiple individual sessions.

Some insurance companies help cover the costs of a health and wellness coach, but not all do.

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition specializes in certifying coaches. Students are trained in dietary theories, primary foods and marketing and business concepts.

The University of Arizona, Vanderbilt University and the University of North Carolina are among universities that provide certification in the field of health and wellness coaching.

“Hopefully we get the insurance companies to wake up and realize that having a health coach is important, and therefore that they should help supplement the cost of a health coach for somebody,” said Marcelo Anzalone, executive vice president of business development for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Reach reporter Luis Gonzalez at [email protected] or 202-408-1493. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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