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The Evidence for Health Coaching. A Shortlist of Systemic Reviews and Meta-Analyses.

Updated: May 3

evidence for health coaching

This article updated: 02 October 2023

A subject that occasionally comes up in conversations about health coaching relates to providing evidence, in the form of published studies, on its efficacy. There are plenty to be found, across all areas of health.

To provide a short list only, below are key systemic reviews and meta-analyses organised by key area of study and by date. These are powerful studies that review the results of multiple studies for any given field.

If you are a health coach, please feel free to use necessary. If you have any additional meta-analyses to include, leave the citation in the comments below so that we can add to the list for everyone's benefit.

Stay Healthy,


Cardiometabolic Health / Cardiovascular Disease

Kwok ZC, Tao A, Chan HY. Effects of Health Coaching on Cardiometabolic Health in Middle-Aged Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Am J Health Promot. 2022 Nov 2:8901171221137332. doi: 10.1177/08901171221137332. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36322092.

Chronic Illness (General)

Kivelä K, Elo S, Kyngäs H, Kääriäinen M. The effects of health coaching on adult patients with chronic diseases: A systematic review. Patient Educ Couns 2014;97(2):147–57. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.07.026.


Ibrahim, O. M., El-Bassiouny, N. A., Dergham, E. A., Al Mazrouei, N., Al Meslamani, A. Z., Ebaed, S. B. M., Ibrahim, R. M., Sadeq, A., & Kassem, A. B. (2021). The effectiveness of pharmacist-based coaching in improving breast cancer-related health behaviors: A randomized controlled trial. Pharmacy practice, 19(4), 2563.

Barakat S, Boehmer K, Abdelrahim M, Ahn S, Al-Khateeb AA, Villalobos NÁ, Prokop L, Erwin PJ, Fleming K, Serrano V, Spencer-Bonilla G, Murad MH. Does Health Coaching Grow Capacity in Cancer Survivors? A Systematic Review. Popul Health Manag. 2018 Feb;21(1):63-81. doi: 10.1089/pop.2017.0040. Epub 2017 Jun 21. PMID: 28636526.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Long H, Howells K, Peters S, Blakemore A. Does health coaching improve health-related quality of life and reduce hospital admissions in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Health Psychol. 2019 Sep;24(3):515-546. doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12366. Epub 2019 Apr 29. PMID: 31033121; PMCID: PMC6767143.


Almulhim AN, Hartley H, Norman P, Caton SJ, Doğru OC, Goyder E. Behavioural Change Techniques in Health Coaching-Based Interventions for Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. BMC Public Health. 2023 Jan 13;23(1):95. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-14874-3. PMID: 36639632; PMCID: PMC9837922.

Winkley K, Upsher R, Stahl D, Pollard D, Kasera A, Brennan A, Heller S, Ismail K. Psychological interventions to improve self-management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. Health Technol Assess. 2020 Jun;24(28):1-232. doi: 10.3310/hta24280. PMID: 32568666; PMCID: PMC7336224.

Exercise / Physical Activity

Kettle VE, Madigan CD, Coombe A, Graham H, Thomas JJC, Chalkley AE, Daley AJ. Effectiveness of physical activity interventions delivered or prompted by health professionals in primary care settings: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 2022 Feb 23;376:e068465. doi: 10.1136/bmj-2021-068465. PMID: 35197242; PMCID: PMC8864760.

Nyman SR, Adamczewska N, Howlett N. Systematic review of behaviour change techniques to promote participation in physical activity among people with dementia. Br J Health Psychol. 2018 Feb;23(1):148-170. doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12279. Epub 2017 Oct 4. PMID: 28980370.

Oliveira JS, Sherrington C, Amorim AB, Dario AB, Tiedemann A. What is the effect of health coaching on physical activity participation in people aged 60 years and over? A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Br J Sports Med. 2017 Oct;51(19):1425-1432. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096943. Epub 2017 Mar 20. PMID: 28320732.


Meng F, Jiang Y, Yu P, Song Y, Zhou L, Xu Y, Zhou Y. Effect of health coaching on blood pressure control and behavioral modification among patients with hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Int J Nurs Stud. 2023 Feb;138:104406. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2022.104406. Epub 2022 Nov 14. PMID: 36473304.

Lower Back Pain

Holden J, Davidson M, O'Halloran PD. Health coaching for low back pain: a systematic review of the literature. Int J Clin Pract. 2014 Aug;68(8):950-62. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12444. Epub 2014 Apr 22. PMID: 24754872.

Sleep / Insomnia

Hasan F, Tu YK, Yang CM, James Gordon C, Wu D, Lee HC, Yuliana LT, Herawati L, Chen TJ, Chiu HY. Comparative efficacy of digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia: A systematic review and network meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev. 2022 Feb;61:101567. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2021.101567. Epub 2021 Nov 10. PMID: 34902820.

Seyffert M, Lagisetty P, Landgraf J, Chopra V, Pfeiffer PN, Conte ML, Rogers MA. Internet-Delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Treat Insomnia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 11;11(2):e0149139. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149139. PMID: 26867139; PMCID: PMC4750912.

Trauer JM, Qian MY, Doyle JS, Rajaratnam SM, Cunnington D. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Insomnia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2015 Aug 4;163(3):191-204. doi: 10.7326/M14-2841. PMID: 26054060.

Wu JQ, Appleman ER, Salazar RD, Ong JC. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Comorbid With Psychiatric and Medical Conditions: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Sep;175(9):1461-72. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.3006.

Weight Management / Obesity

Chew HSJ, Rajasegaran NN, Chin YH, Chew WSN, Kim KM. Effectiveness of Combined Health Coaching and Self-Monitoring Apps on Weight-Related Outcomes in People With Overweight and Obesity: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Med Internet Res. 2023 Apr 18;25:e42432. doi: 10.2196/42432. PMID: 37071452; PMCID: PMC10155083.

Madigan CD, Graham HE, Sturgiss E, Kettle VE, Gokal K, Biddle G, Taylor GMJ, Daley AJ. Effectiveness of weight management interventions for adults delivered in primary care: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 2022 May 30;377:e069719. doi: 10.1136/bmj-2021-069719. PMID: 35636762; PMCID: PMC9150078.

LeBlanc EL, Patnode CD, Webber EM, Redmond N, Rushkin M, O’Connor EA. Behavioral and Pharmacotherapy Weight Loss Interventions to Prevent Obesity-Related Morbidity and Mortality in Adults: An Updated Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2018 Sep. Report No.: 18-05239-EF-1. PMID: 30354042.

Muñoz Obino KF, Aguiar Pereira C, Caron-Lienert RS. Coaching and barriers to weight loss: An integrative review. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes 2017 10:1–11. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S113874.

Shahnazari M, Ceresa C, Foley S, Fong A, Zidaru E, Moody S. Nutrition-focused wellness coaching promotes a reduction in body weight in overweight US veterans. J Acad Nutr Diet 2013;113(7):928–35. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.04.001.


Barr JA, Tsai LP. Health coaching provided by registered nurses described: a systematic review and narrative synthesis. BMC Nurs. 2021 May 10;20(1):74. doi: 10.1186/s12912-021-00594-3. PMID: 33966641; PMCID: PMC8108347.

Sforzo GA, Kaye MP, Harenberg S, et al. Compendium of Health and Wellness Coaching: 2019 Addendum. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2020;14(2):155-168. doi:10.1177/1559827619850489

Dejonghe LAL, Becker J, Froboese I, Schaller A. Long-term effectiveness of health coaching in rehabilitation and prevention: A systematic review. Patient Educ Couns. 2017 Sep;100(9):1643-1653. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2017.04.012. Epub 2017 Apr 23. PMID: 28465111.



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