Why I Pursued the NBC-HWC Title
Sometimes we need to step outside our box, and grow a little bit. In June, I did just that. While I have a strong background in self-study of health and wellness, as well as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching Certification, I really wanted to gain the credibility that comes from the medical field. I knew from consulting with medical professionals that this would only come through passing the exam administered by the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaches.
After taking night classes, and studying more than I care to remember over the past year, I filled out the tedious application. My application was accepted and I was approved to sit for the exam in June 2019. Last week, I was notified that I was one of two people in Nebraska to achieve this level of certification. Why is this a big deal?
These days, almost anyone can use the title of “Health Coach.” This title has come to mean many different things. Some “Health Coaches” receive training through an online seminar or sign up with exercise companies to promote their products and programs. I’m in favor of, and have many friends who are helping people as Health Coaches using these methods.
But when it comes to the human body, behavior modification and the complexities of health and wellness, I do believe that education and certification for Health Coaches is as important as education is for other healthcare professionals. If you really want to dive deep into the core of many health issues, and potentially even partner with medical doctors, it will require knowledge that extends beyond exercise and nutrition. I’m excited to have taken the steps to move on to this level of health coaching.
Why does this Certification Matter?
According to the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching:
“NBHWC is a volunteer team of U.S. leaders who pioneered science-based training, education, and research of health and wellness coaches over the past 15 years. Since 2010, our team has consulted widely, developed a broad consensus, created national standards, and formed a partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners in May 2016 to launch a National Board Certification for Health & Wellness Coaches in September of 2017.
The objective of the National Board Certification for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBC-HWC) is to provide a minimum standard and measure of foundational competencies: the knowledge, tasks and skills essential to the practice of health and wellness coaching. The application of coaching knowledge is assessed by the HWC Certifying Examination. Development and assessment of practical skills are provided by NBHWC approved health and wellness coach training and education programs.“
In other words, in partnering with the National Board of Medical Examiners, the NBHWC has set a standard that provides a certain level of qualification to distinguish between coaches that have the kind of background and training needed to partner most effectively with the medical community. There are currently 2,530 Health Coaches certified by NBHWC in the U.S. I’m excited to have joined their ranks.
Why Health Coaching in the First Place?
Nothing I’ve done has been so rewarding as assisting people as they navigate the kinds of health and behavioral changes needed to feel better, reduce medications, and increase energy. Current research that backs the health coaching industry is demonstrating how effective coaching is in helping patients to create lasting changes and make significant strides in the management of chronic disease. In numerous medical studies, the patient who receives health coaching maintains the changes over extended periods of time drastically affecting their chronic conditions.
Consider the following stats provided by The Center of Disease Control. Currently 6 out of 10 Americans have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 have two or more. Heart disease affects more than 859,000 costing the healthcare system more than $199 billion a year. Diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans, while 84 million have prediabetes and costs more than $237 billion every year. Obesity affects 1 in 5 kids, as well as, 1 in 3 adults, costing the healthcare system more than $147 billion a year. Arthritis affects 54.4 million adults, costing $140 billion a year
Medical Doctor, Nicole Calloway Rankins said best what I’ve experienced as a Health Coach, “One of the most utilized remedies for all of these conditions is behavior change in the form of dietary and/or activity modifications. The reason behind the lack of success with lifestyle interventions is simple – behavior change is hard. There is however a tool that makes behavior change easier – health coaching. Health coaches have been around for several years, but despite growing evidence of their ability to help people successfully make behavior change, providers are rarely recommending that their patients seek out a health coach. Here is why you should start recommending a health coach to your patients now: health coaching works. A 2014 systematic literature review concluded that among adults with chronic diseases, health coaching leads to statistically significant improvements in weight management, physical activity, physical and mental health status.”
What about You?
If you’ve contemplated working with a Health Coach and are seeking long lasting changes, I would love that opportunity. My job is to partner alongside you as you improve your health and well-being, optimize your lifestyle, and facilitate a behavior change that provides ongoing benefits. I believe everyone possesses the capability and capacity to change. Changes in health and wellness can appear challenging, but my desire is to offer you the best support while you create the healthiest version of you.