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Health Coaching and Type 2 Diabetes, The Evidence from Randomized Controlled Trials

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

diabetes health coaching evidence

As we approach World Diabetes Day, the following studies of the evidence from randomized controlled trials for type 2 (and type 1) diabetes might be of value to health coaches, and for coaching their clients.

For other diabetes related articles, please see here.

Stay Healthy,


Alastair Hunt NBC-HWC, is the founder of The Whole Health Practice Pte Ltd. a leading lifestyle and whole person health practice, based in Singapore and working with clients globally.


Rosland AM, Piette JD, Trivedi R, Lee A, Stoll S, Youk AO, Obrosky DS, Deverts D, Kerr EA, Heisler M. Effectiveness of a Health Coaching Intervention for Patient-Family Dyads to Improve Outcomes Among Adults With Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Nov 1;5(11):e2237960. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.37960. PMID: 36374502; PMCID: PMC9664266.

O'Reilly DJ, Blackhouse G, Bowen JM, Brozic A, Agema P, Punthakee Z, McInnes N, Gerstein HC, Sherifali D. Economic Analysis of a Diabetes Health Coaching Intervention for Adults Living With Type 2 Diabetes: A Single-Centre Evaluation From a Community-Based Randomized Controlled Trial. Can J Diabetes. 2022 Mar;46(2):165-170. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2021.08.003. Epub 2021 Aug 14. PMID: 35115250.

McDaniel CC, Kavookjian J, Whitley HP. Telehealth delivery of motivational interviewing for diabetes management: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Patient Educ Couns. 2022 Apr;105(4):805-820. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2021.07.036. Epub 2021 Jul 24. PMID: 34366228; PMCID: PMC8912910.

Sherifali D, Brozic A, Agema P, Punthakee Z, McInnes N, O'Reilly D, Usman Ali RM, Ibrahim S, Gerstein HC. Effect of Diabetes Health Coaching on Glycemic Control and Quality of Life in Adults Living With Type 2 Diabetes: A Community-Based, Randomized, Controlled Trial. Can J Diabetes. 2021 Oct;45(7):594-600. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2020.11.012. Epub 2020 Dec 5. PMID: 33582039.

Steffen PLS, Mendonça CS, Meyer E, Faustino-Silva DD. Motivational Interviewing in the Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Arterial Hypertension in Primary Health Care: An RCT. Am J Prev Med. 2021 May;60(5):e203-e212. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.12.015. Epub 2021 Feb 24. PMID: 33637368.

Lin CL, Huang LC, Chang YT, Chen RY, Yang SH. Effectiveness of Health Coaching in Diabetes Control and Lifestyle Improvement: A Randomized-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2021 Oct 29;13(11):3878. doi: 10.3390/nu13113878. PMID: 34836135; PMCID: PMC8621665.

Young HM, Miyamoto S, Dharmar M, Tang-Feldman Y. Nurse Coaching and Mobile Health Compared With Usual Care to Improve Diabetes Self-Efficacy for Persons With Type 2 Diabetes: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2020 Mar 2;8(3):e16665. doi: 10.2196/16665. PMID: 32130184; PMCID: PMC7076411.

Li Z, Chen Q, Yan J, Liang W, Wong WCW. Effectiveness of motivational interviewing on improving Care for Patients with type 2 diabetes in China: A randomized controlled trial. BMC Health Serv Res. 2020 Jan 23;20(1):57. doi: 10.1186/s12913-019-4776-8. PMID: 31973759; PMCID: PMC6979352.

Mayer-Davis EJ, Maahs DM, Seid M, Crandell J, Bishop FK, Driscoll KA, Hunter CM, Kichler JC, Standiford D, Thomas JM; FLEX Study Group. Efficacy of the Flexible Lifestyles Empowering Change intervention on metabolic and psychosocial outcomes in adolescents with type 1 diabetes (FLEX): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2018 Sep;2(9):635-646. doi: 10.1016/S2352-4642(18)30208-6. Epub 2018 Jul 30. PMID: 30119757; PMCID: PMC6260973.

Oksman E, Linna M, Hörhammer I, Lammintakanen J, Talja M. Cost-effectiveness analysis for a tele-based health coaching program for chronic disease in primary care. BMC Health Serv Res. 2017 Feb 15;17(1):138. doi: 10.1186/s12913-017-2088-4. PMID: 28202032; PMCID: PMC5312514.

Willard-Grace R, Chen EH, Hessler D, DeVore D, Prado C, Bodenheimer T, Thom DH. Health coaching by medical assistants to improve control of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia in low-income patients: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Fam Med. 2015 Mar;13(2):130-8. doi: 10.1370/afm.1768. PMID: 25755034; PMCID: PMC4369595.

Wayne N, Perez DF, Kaplan DM, Ritvo P. Health Coaching Reduces HbA1c in Type 2 Diabetic Patients From a Lower-Socioeconomic Status Community: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Med Internet Res. 2015 Oct 5;17(10):e224. doi: 10.2196/jmir.4871. PMID: 26441467; PMCID: PMC4642794.

Cinar AB, Schou L. The role of self-efficacy in health coaching and health education for patients with type 2 diabetes. Int Dent J. 2014 Jun;64(3):155-63. doi: 10.1111/idj.12093. Epub 2014 Feb 18. PMID: 24571189; PMCID: PMC9376416.


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