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Home Applied Research and Innovation Blog 2013 September 27 Health Coaching for Children and Adolescents

Health Coaching for Children and Adolescents

Child studies practicum in daycare with two workers and four children with windown view

Centennial College has launched a new patient-centred healthcare initiative that will examine the specific coaching needs of children and adolescents to help them maintain their health with the help of social media and other new tools. Starting with a focus on childhood obesity and diabetes, the project will explore how children and adolescents can be best informed and coached about their own health and wellness issues.

Dr. Glenn Berall, former Chief of Pediatrics at North York General Hospital notes that childhood health coaching shows both short and long-term potential to transform personal health and wellbeing: “The effectiveness of health coaching, properly targeted at children and adolescents, and using mobile computing and social media tools, will improve their health, and reduce future costs for the healthcare system by reducing the likelihood of adult onset of coachable/preventable diseases.”

Dr.  Harvey Skinner, Dean of the Faculty of Health, York University and Principal Investigator for the Connected Health and Wellness Project agrees. “The findings from this ground-breaking project on children and adolescents will provide us with critical information and best practices that will move us toward our goal of keeping more people healthier, longer.” York and Centennial are two of 17 Ontario academic, private-sector and not-for-profit research partners within the Connected Health and Wellness Project.

Health-coaching clinical trials using innovative mobile technologies on adults with chronic disease are already underway within the larger Connected Health and Wellness Project. This new effort will leverage work already done and identify effective types of interactive media methods that can be deployed on mobile devices to improve behavioural patterns in a younger set of patients.

“Successful completion of the children health coaching model will demonstrate how society can benefit greatly from health coaching at an earlier age. The development of healthy living habits and imparting health information at an earlier age will lead to an overall healthier life and a less strained healthcare system.” says Trish Dryden, Associate Vice-President, Research and Corporate Planning, Centennial College.

The Centennial Children Health Coaching Team is comprised of Fred Winegust, principal investigator from the School of Business, Debbie Gordon, co-investigator from Centennial’s KidsMediaCentre, and two School of Business graduate students. Purnima Tyagi from the college’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre is the project manager. Dr. Glenn Berall, a physician and nutrition specialist, is supporting the Centennial team as content expert.

The Connected Health and Wellness Project is a collaborative project led by a partnership of York University, NexJ Systems and McMaster University. In addition to a federal contribution of $15.5 million, the project has leveraged more than $23 million in public and private-sector investment.

With the support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).