Background Physical inactivity is common in older age, yet increased activity benefits older people in terms of preventing chronic disease and maximising independence. Health coaching is a behaviour change intervention that has been shown to increase physical activity in clinical populations. This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated the effect of health coaching on physical activity, mobility, quality of life and mood in older people.
Methods MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, PsycINFO, PEDro, SPORTDiscus, LILACS and CINAHL databases were used to identify randomised controlled trials which evaluated the effect of health coaching on physical activity (primary outcome) among people aged 60+. Secondary outcomes were mobility, quality of life and mood. We calculated standardised mean differences (SMDs, Hedges’ g) with 95% CIs from random effects meta-analyses.
Results 27 eligible trials were included. Health coaching had a small, statistically significant effect on physical activity (27 studies; SMD = 0.27; 95% CI 0.18 to 0.37; p<0.001). There was no evidence of an effect of health coaching on mobility (eight studies; SMD = 0.10; 95% CI −0.03 to 0.23; p=0.13), quality of life (eight studies; SMD = 0.07; 95% CI −0.06 to 0.20; p<0.05) or mood (five studies; SMD = 0.02; 95% CI −0.12 to 0.16; p=0.83).
Conclusions Health coaching significantly increased physical activity in people aged 60+. There was no evidence of an effect of health coaching on quality of life, mobility and mood, so different approaches may be required to impact on these outcomes.
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Contributors JSO, AT and CS conceived the study and contributed to study design and interpretation of the data. JSO coordinated the literature search and data collection with assistance from ABA and ABD. JSO, AT, ABD and CS contributed to data analysis and interpretation of the data. JSO drafted the manuscript and all authors contributed to revisions and approved the final manuscript. JSO is the guarantor for the study.
Funding This review received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. JSO, ABA and ABD are supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Brazil. CS holds a fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia. AT holds a career development fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement No additional data.
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