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Jan 2011: Delft University on Health Coach Program


On Monday 17 January, TU Delft is launching a scientific health program for its employees. The participants in this Health Coach Program will be intensively coached and monitored. The project is a cooperative venture between the university’s insurer OHRA/CZ and TU Delft, who are joint initiators of the program. A TU Delft pilot project in 2010 demonstrated that this type of program can considerably improve the health of those taking part.


Cardiovascular disease, weight and Type 2 Diabetes

In 2011, TU Delft is offering interested employees the chance to be part of an intensive health program with electronic support: the Health Coach Program. “Around 100 people will use the program to work on their health on an ongoing basis,” says initiator Dr Luuk Simons of the TRANS Academy at TU Delft and founder of the Health (e)Coach Program. “Our project focus is on preventing, controlling and reversing cardiovascular conditions, excess weight and type 2 diabetes.”



The Health Coach Program takes six months and encompasses four factors: diet, exercise, stress management and active use of social support. Dr Simons explains “We kick off on Monday 17 January with the initial workshops, during which we give the participants fundamental insights into their health. After all, the main points of what good health and genuinely healthy behavior are all about can be understood in a day. I show the participants a kind of spectrum, going from very unhealthy to very healthy behavior. It is then up to each individual to decide how far they can reasonably be expected to shift in the direction of healthy behavior.”



In the course of the program, participants can use a personal ‘dashboard’ to keep track of their progress and experiences as regards their health. In addition, physiological measurements such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels will be taken at the beginning, halfway through and at the end of the program. And there will be coach sessions with health coaches and the university health services doctor. “A next step is to increase the mobility of the dashboard and the sensors,” says Dr Simons. “For instance, in future it will be possible to carry out blood tests using a plaster that contains a chip, directly linked to the dashboard.”



Dr Simons expects to see considerable improvements in the health of a large number of the participants. “These can happen relatively quickly. By seriously adapting your diet, it is sometimes possible to lower your cholesterol by ten per cent in a matter of weeks. Also for people with type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes), this program can yield very interesting results.”



The fact that this type of program can really work was established by a pilot project carried out at TU Delft last year. Dr Simons recalls “Our experiences with the pilot were very positive. In general people found it very pleasant to take part and two of the three participants really made great progress.” The Health Coach Program is being supervised by TU Delft. OHRA Zorg, part of the CZ group, has facilitated a significant financial contribution and is working alongside TU Delft to supervise the program.


Further details and Video:

Take a look at the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hPATbsSUfE


Link to the TRANS Academy of TU Delft, TNO and KPN


Link to Delft University of Technology Press Release




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