via Wall Street Journal
Changing unhealthy habits is hard, doctors say. But with Americans suffering from chronic disease in epidemic proportions, a big push is under way to get more individuals to do just that.
Large employers, insurers, health-care systems and other organizations are increasingly turning to “wellness coaches” to motivate people to adopt healthier lifestyles.
These programs typically include counseling to get patients to understand how behavior affects health, along with techniques such as meditation and goal-setting to help individuals make needed changes and stay on course.
It’s all part of a broader shift within the health-care industry toward keeping people well instead of simply treating them when they’re sick. The stakes are high: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls lifestyle-related chronic disease such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease the greatest health challenge of the 21st century. The CDC estimates that half of all adults in the U.S., or 117 million people, had one or more chronic health condition in 2012, accounting for 86% of all health-care spending.