Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

October 20, 2013

WHOLE FAMILY: America could benefit from health coaches

(Continued)

And that is not HEALTH care. That’s SICK care.

I know some of us manage to get to the doctor or the nurse practitioner or the midwife or whomever on a fairly regular basis, but what do we get most times? A height and weight check, maybe a blood draw or other lab test, maybe a prescription, a few words of wisdom, and we’re out the door till next year.

It’s just the way U.S. healthcare is set up.

I say what’s missing is your health coach, the one who helps you develop your health-and-wellness strategy for life years before you’re sick and need healthcare services that really should be called “sick-care services” anyway.

Let’s dream: At some point in your life — probably those late teen years — you get a wellness coach. This person is clinically competent and has education and training not only in “medicine” but in coaching itself, in how to help people develop and maintain goals and strategies.

(There’s an art and science to coaching itself, by the way. Not just anybody can do it.)

You and this coach meet on a regular basis and come up with a wellness plan for you. The plan would take into account all of your uniqueness — body type, genetic factors, predispositions, preferences, socioeconomic status, health history, etc. — to develop goals for you.

The main goal would be easy: optimal health. But you might have additional health-related goals, like attaining a certain fitness level or running a marathon, becoming pregnant or avoiding something genetics has all but guaranteed you. Maybe you do start out sick, and your coach is qualified to help sick people too.

Here’s where it gets fun. You and your coach develop strategies to get you well or keep you well and to help your body run like the well-fish-oiled machine it can be. For many people, these strategies would be pretty easy to write. Because … remember the great health trifecta? Yep, diet, exercise and stress/environment. It’s really not, as they say, rocket science, though science is important.

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Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

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