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Glob Adv Health Med. 2018 Jul 4;7:2164956118784902. doi: 10.1177/2164956118784902. eCollection 2018.

Total Lifestyle Coaching: A Pilot Study Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Mind-Body and Nutrition Telephone Coaching Program for Obese Adults at a Community Health Center.

Author information

Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Nutrition and Food Services, Ambulatory Nutrition Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Division of General Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.



Stress and obesity are interrelated and common among low-income adults. Mind-body interventions have been shown to reduce psychological distress and have been incorporated into many weight loss interventions. However, few of these programs have incorporated a telephone coaching component.


We designed and piloted a novel weight loss telephone coaching intervention for this population and examined its effectiveness on weight loss and improvements in health behaviors in obese community health center patients.


This was a 6-month, single-arm, prospective, pre-post pilot study. The study took place at a community health center near Boston, Massachusetts. Participants were 27 overweight and obese community health center patients. The intervention consisted of one in-person intake with the registered dietitian, trained in mind-body approaches, and approximately 1 phone coaching session every 2 weeks for 6 consecutive months. Anthropometric data consisted of weight, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure. Questionnaires consisted of the Perceived Stress Scale-10 item, the CIGNA Healthy Eating Survey, Section H: Behavioral Eating, a physical activity questionnaire, and a nutritional habits questionnaire. We used paired samples t tests to assess pre-post changes in weight, BMI, blood pressure, perceived stress, behavioral eating, and physical activity. We also conducted semistructured exit interviews to learn about participants' experiences in this program.


There was a trend toward weight reduction (P < .1, Cohen's d = 0.33) and significant improvements in systolic blood pressure (P = .001, Cohen's d = 0.72), perceived stress (P = .001, Cohen's d = 0.75), and behavioral eating (P = .009, Cohen's d = 0.54). Improvements in weight were sustained 6 months after completion of the intervention.


Results suggest that a telephone nutrition health coaching intervention is feasible and may facilitate weight loss in obese community health center patients. Future randomized-controlled studies are warranted to better understand these improvements.

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behavior therapy; mind–body medicine; obesity; telemedicine; weight loss

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