Evaluating the Effect of a Diabetes Health Coach in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes

Can J Diabetes. 2016 Feb;40(1):84-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2015.10.006.


Objectives: Diabetes health coaching has not been adequately assessed in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The objective of this review was to synthesize the evidence of health coaching for individuals with diabetes to determine the effects of coaching on diabetes control, specifically on glycated hemoglobin (A1C) levels.

Methods: The EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsychINFO and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were searched from inception to January 2015. Reference lists from important publications were also reviewed. At least 2 evaluators independently screened and extracted data from eligible studies.

Results: A total of 8 trials met the selection criteria, which included 724 adult participants; 353 participants were randomized to a diabetes health coaching intervention, and 371 were randomized to usual care. The pooled effect of diabetes health coaching overall was a statistically significant reduction of A1C levels by 0.32 (95% CI, -0.50 to -0.15). Longer diabetes health coaching exposure (>6 months) resulted in a 0.57% reduction in A1C levels (95% CI, -0.76 to -0.38), compared to shorter diabetes health coaching exposure (≤6 months) (-0.23%; 95% CI, -0.37 to -0.09). Across all studies, diabetes health coaching consisted of goal setting, knowledge acquisition, individualized care and frequent follow up.

Conclusions: Diabetes health coaching has an emerging role in healthcare that facilitates self-care, behaviour change and offers frequent follow up and support. This review finds that health coaching for those with diabetes is an effective intervention for improving glycemic control, which may be of greater benefit when offered in addition to existing diabetes care.

Keywords: accompagnement; coaching; diabète sucré de type 2; meta-analysis; méta-analyse; revue systématique; systematic review; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy* / trends
  • Combined Modality Therapy / trends
  • Diabetes Complications / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Health Promotion / trends
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / prevention & control*
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Education as Topic / trends
  • Precision Medicine* / trends
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Self Care / trends
  • Workforce


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human