Last Updated: February 23, 2021

As we find ourselves in the midst of this unusual winter, there is nevertheless the feeling that change is on the horizon. As health coaches continue to adapt, triumph, and grow, let’s take a look at some of the recent health coaching headlines that have brought us through the end of 2020 and into 2021 with fascinating stories and new perspectives.

Here are 11 of the top health coaching news headlines to check out this winter.

Big Names and Bigger Impact in Health Coaching

Health Coaching Goes Mainstream

The Washington Post published an article last December titled “Health and wellness coaches are fairly new. Here’s what you need to know about them.” Experts such as Leigh-Ann Webster, executive director of the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching, who we’ve featured on our podcast, weigh in on the impact and importance of health coaches. The article covers not only what health coaches do, but discusses some practical aspects of coaching such as costs and insurance, sharing the trend that there are an “increasing number of health insurance companies that provide free health coaching to their subscribers.”

Apple Hops on Board the Health Coaching Space

It appears that Apple is conducting research in regards to integrating health coaching into their interface. Rather than simply tracking data such as diet and blood glucose levels, this patented feature could result in the “ability to connect with the coach…via a “Connect” tab on the bottom of the screen in the Health coaching app,” making personal health coaches for their users just a screen tap away.

Health Coaching Market Report: A $7 Billion Service Market and Impact of COVID-19

Marketdata LLC, a private independent market research firm, has just released a comprehensive, 74-page study on the U.S. Health Coaching Market. Access to the full study costs a pretty penny, but WebWire’s summary article hits on some key points, such as that the health coaching service market is now worth about $7.1 billion, the fact that 2020-21 has been “a mixed-bag… as the pandemic and recession resulted in some lay-offs of health coaches. However, most have pivoted to virtual meetings and telehealth, which enables coaches to reach more patients,” and that “60% of Americans want health coaching but 80% of them have never had it offered to them.”

Health Studies Prove Health Coaches’ Efficacy

The Link Between Health Coaching and Blood Glucose Levels in Underserved Communities

A clinical trial at Louisiana State University examined the effects of health coaching on obese patients, finding that those assigned to work with a health coach showed “decreased blood sugar levels and improvements in cholesterol as well as cardiometabolic risk scores.” “Our results demonstrate lifestyle intervention and weight-loss programs can be successful for people in underserved, low-income communities if you bring the program to where they are, removing barriers to participation,” principal investigator Peter Katzmarzyk stated. Of the 803 patients included in the study, 67% were Black and 84% were women, which sheds some light on how obesity disproportionately affects this community and how health coaches may be part of the solution.

Matters of the Heart: Health Coaching and Heart Disease

Here’s a quick look at how health coaching is having positive effects on patients with heart disease. This write-up by Carey Rossi of Florence Health—a support network for healthcare professionals, links to a detailed research study on health coaches’ impact on participants, where “overall cardiometabolic risk scores improved significantly for the intervention group,” i.e. the group that received 24 months of high-level, hands-on health coaching.

The Latest in Diet and Nutrition

Sugar Is Out

In newly issued guidelines by the Federal government according to its scientific advisory committee, they’ve recommended “cutting the limit for added sugars in the diet to 6% of daily calories from 10% in the current guidelines.” The committee also recommends “that children under age 2 consume no added sugars at all,” which, interestingly enough, is the first time these guidelines have included recommendations for babies and toddlers. These guidelines are updated every five years, and shape everything from school lunch programs to what food companies produce, so to see a decrease in this percentage here is definitely a win.

Health Coaches on Pandemic Eating Habits

It’s no surprise that people are having trouble eating healthy during the pandemic. This article contains advice and input from health coach and mom, Haynes Paschall, and integrative medicine specialist and chiropractor, John Bartemus, on potentially dangerous pandemic eating trends they’ve been noticing—and what to do about it.

WW and Diabetes

All the way back in 2019, we took note of Weight Watchers rebranding themselves as “WW,” and the transformation the company undertook securing a new tagline, Wellness that Works, a new partnership with the meditation app Headspace, and a new philosophy that focuses more on building habits versus just weight loss. According to this article from Healthline, a WW plan now includes Personal Coaching with options that are tailored to those with Type 2 Diabetes, though the article seems to call into question the effectiveness of WW’s coaches and its impact on Type 2 Diabetes, suggesting that WW’s program might best be used simply as a tool in conjunction with advice from other healthcare professionals.

Everything Is Online: How Health Coaching Is Adapting

Innovation and Opportunity in Digital Coaching Programs

Medical Mutual, one of Ohio’s largest health insurance companies, announced that they are integrating an A.I.-based health coaching program using Lark, a digital communication platform. While hearing the words “A.I.-based health coaching” may send a shiver down your spine as a very human health coach, keep in mind that behind this platform are a team of expert health coaches working hard to deliver useful and precise results to their client base. Maybe even something else to consider in regards to the work-from-home health coaching job market.

Digital Behavioral Health Coaching Company Focuses in on Pandemic Anxiety

The mental health and wellness company Ginger, based out of San Francisco, “delivers evidence-based behavioral health coaching, therapy, and psychiatry right from a smartphone.” There has been a drastic spike in reports of anxiety since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Ginger, owner of one of the world’s largest mental health data sets, has found that “a virtual, team-based approach comprised of behavioral health coaching and clinical telemental health services is the most effective approach” to treating anxiety. Their behavioral health coaches are available by text chat 24/7 via their app to do their part in treating this pressing need.

Online Coaching Gives This Health Coach a Worldwide Reach

This spotlight on Australian health coach Shelley Booth in the Evening Telegraph is an inspiring look into how she moved her health coaching business entirely online after the pandemic, and is now flourishing and able to work with clients worldwide. Previously operating out of a brick-and-mortar gym, Shelley, who works with women, shares how “the irony is that I’m now able to help more women than ever before. Most of my clients were in Dundee but, because you can take part wherever you are, I’m now working with women aged 18-80 all over the world, from Canada and the US to Malaysia, Australia and Spain.”

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