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Online Health Coach vs. Noom: What’s the difference?

Amanda Cofer, MPH

Many of us have heard the statistics on the increasing rate of chronic disease all over the world (it’s not pretty…) but we also know that we are becoming more aware of the health habits that lead to chronic disease. Even with this awareness though, its estimated that only 6.3% of Americans engage in all 5 healthy behaviors listed by the Center for Disease Control to avoid a chronic illness.  So what is one of healthcare’s secret weapons for combating this epidemic? Health coaches. Health coaches help you turn unhealthy behaviors into healthy ones to prevent or manage chronic disease. Here are some ways that Noom stacks up to conventional health coaching programs.

Online Health Coach Training and Education

One important factor when thinking through your health coaching program is the training and education of those coaching you (I mean, this is still a clinical environment after all). Because the field of health coaching is still relatively new, not all coaching programs are created equal. Noom’s coaches hold 4-year degrees (many with advanced degrees.…#NoomNerds) in fields that pertain to health and wellness. This could be social work, psychology, exercise science, public health, education, nutrition….the list goes on. Not only that, but Noom is accredited by the National Consortium for Credentialing Health & Wellness Coaches (NCCHWC) to continue the development and training of these coaches through established certifications. Why is this a big deal, you may ask? As the health coaching profession grows so does its standards and credentialing. Noom is training and developing coaches to perform at some of the highest standards currently being used to gage coaching ability.

While you may find some of this in your run of the mill online health coach, there may still be sometimes missing. Ever experienced that, where you can’t quite put your finger on what it may be? Well, it could be goal setting. Noom coaches focus on evidence-based coaching techniques to help you set goals that are meaningful to you AND that will help you create the changes you want to see in your life. The coaches help you monitor your progress by setting specific and challenging (yet still realistic) goals while helping you keep motivated and committed. So why is this a big deal and is it too good to seriously be true? It’s seriously not. It’s important because goal setting has been proven to lead to behavior change.  

Technology and Accountability

We live in a digital world. Sure there are some pros and cons to this but when it comes to health coaching in Noom’s platform there are some definite pros. Technology is changing the healthcare landscape, making it more accessible and efficient. Whether that is telemedicine or an app in the palm of your hand where you can easily talk with your Noom health coach in real time. This helps you interact and connect more with your coach to get at the root your habits and behavior change. The innovations of Noom’s app and program help your coach see your meal log, your activity, and your progress to help you see the patterns in your habits and coach you through the changes you want to make. Interesting enough is that one study found that this increased interaction and accessibility to support and programming can lead to increased adherence for a higher rate of client success (pretty cool, no?)!

Basically what this boils down to is more accountability through more accessibility. Say you’re meeting with your online health coach this week and you know their going to ask about logging your food. Sure you can talk about it but they can’t see the items you entered or get a feel for your nutritional patterns throughout the week. Noom’s program and coaching offers an extra layer of accountability through innovative app technology and programming that allows the coach to see your meal and activity logs. This helps your Noom coach, well, coach you better and give you a more well-rounded experience.

Group Interaction and Increased Support

Have you ever gone through something and wondered “Is anyone else out there going through the same thing?” or “Is there anyone else who could understand this?” We’ve all felt something like this at one point or another throughout our lives. The journey to a healthier lifestyle cane sometimes feel like a lonely one. Noom’s program includes group support and interaction outside of your one-on-one coaching conversations to help you feel connected to others along your journey and have another outlet for interaction, accountability, and accessibility. While some other health coaches may offer these types of interactions they may be on certain dates and for an extra fee. Noom is different because your group is an essential part of your program that users have access to 24/7. Not only that but you can participate in activities facilitated by your Group Coach, get more insight into how others navigate challenges, and connect with an accountability buddy to help you through something you may be struggling with.

So, why does this make such a big difference in the success of Noom’s users compared to other online programs? Research suggests that behavior change methods can be more successful when combined with a group approach where individuals are receiving similar information (aka your Noom curriculum) compared to one-on-one interactions alone. Noom’s program allows for the ability to problem solve with others and grow your confidence for healthy actions in multiple interactive environments.

Online Health Coaching that Goes Above and Beyond

While other online health coaching programs may offer certain aspects of Noom’s program, Noom goes above and beyond by offering them all at once, in one platform, to help you see the most success, connect with others, and learn about behavior change in an innovative, evidence-based approach. Noom’s coaches are some of the best in the biz and are continuing to grow and develop in their profession. The app technology through which the program is offered provides more information and accountability. Group support fosters deeper connection between participants and delivers another important layer to the behavior change process. So, when thinking about what program you may want to try, go above and beyond for your health with a program that works to go above and beyond for its users.