Monday, April 13, 2009

The Use of Health Coaches May Create an Opportunity for Medical Weight Loss Centers

For some time, companies have offered wellness programs to company employees. Wellness programs often stress a healthy diet and frequent exercise. Companies have sponsored these programs in an attempt to keep employees healthy, and possibly reduce health care costs. Now, a modification to company wellness programs may be creating an opportunity for medical weight loss centers.

Companies are now beginning to use health coaches in the wellness programs. Moreover, the companies are targeting specific diseases with the coaches. The targeted diseases include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and depression. In some way, each of these ailments can be exacerbated by obesity. This is especially true for diabetes.

Recently, Service Corporation International (SCI) began focusing on diabetes in its health coaching program. And SCI expects to save $500,000 during the first year of its program's operation, because of the program's focus and the use of health coaches.

Other companies are also using health coaches to assist employees with wellness issues. UPS is one of these companies. With its program, UPS targets employees afflicted with heart disease and diabetes. And the coaches encourage the employees to stay on their diets or prescription drug regimens.

We believe that providing employees access to health coaches is relatively new for most companies. But providing this benefit may reduce a company's overall health care costs. And this reduction will help a company's bottom line.

We think that the growing use of health coaches by companies creates an opportunity for medical weight loss centers. We believe this to be the case, since weight loss centers focus on weight loss. And weight loss is a key factor in the illnesses targeted by company wellness programs.

Medical weight loss centers may have a competitive advantage in this area, because medical weight loss centers are more likely to have a medically supported program. Thus, health coaches from these centers are more likely to be using medically based procedures, which may make the procedures more credible to a company.


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