Most Americans have an eating pattern inconsistent with the Dietary Guidelines, putting them at risk for obesity and chronic disease. Health and wellness coaching (HWC) for lifestyle behavior change is emerging as a potentially effective tool to prevent and treat chronic disease. A systematic literature review identified 11 randomized controlled trials studying the use of HWC for improving nutrition-related biomarkers and eating behaviors. These trials demonstrate efficacy of HWC across diverse populations and treatment modalities. Almost all (82%) of the trials showed an improvement in at least one outcome. The most commonly studied outcomes were weight, blood pressure, and fruit, vegetable, and fat intake. There are several gaps in the research. The assessment of nutrition-related behaviors can be expanded to include assessment of diet quality and eating patterns associated with chronic disease prevention. Research is needed to evaluate HWC for nutrition-related biomarkers and behaviors in understudied populations with known health disparities. In addition, the health coaching dosage for long-term maintenance of changed outcomes and behaviors is inconsistent or unknown. These gaps will be important to address to determine policies and best practices for future application of HWC.
Keywords: fruits; health coaching; nutrition behavior; obesity; randomized controlled trials; vegetables.