This February during American Heart Month, ACE joins national efforts to raise awareness of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). About 80% of deaths from cardiac events are preventable, yet shockingly, CVD is still the leading cause of mortality in the United States. It makes us at ACE wonder if in the future, health coaches might figure prominently on the front lines of the fight. Using the coach approach, they help people understand how lifestyle factors set the stage for CVD, and health coaches help people apply the science of behavior change to improve their quality of life.
Evidence suggests that coaching sessions provided by trained health professionals could be a highly effective strategy in the reduction of CVD risk factors. That is because health coaches and other exercise professionals proficient in behavior-change science apply evidence-based approaches in coaching sessions to support long-lasting lifestyle changes. By knowing how to maximize their time with clients by focusing on problem solving, continuous improvement, and accountability, as opposed to delivering education alone, health coaches empower clients to translate doctors’ orders into realistic health habits.
The American Heart Association (AHA) encourages individuals to boost their heart health by modifying behaviors outlined in Life’s Simple 7. To further support individuals in these lifestyle changes, health coaches offer a person-centered approach to help ensure sustained change over time. It’s the small, consistent changes in health behaviors that are key to warding off preventable heart disease, a practice supported by the new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. A health coach’s unique training, skill set, and approach positions them as the ideal agent to help people achieve those small changes.