Having a personalized coach, which would help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol and even stop smoking, are you interested? We must live in two small towns of the North, Fleurbaix and Laventie. The inhabitants “coached” benefit from a balance sheet and a regular follow-up … and it works! Discover the details of a new health approach that could solve many problems.

Perhaps you have already heard of Fleurbaix and Laventie. These two small towns in the north of the United States (6,600 inhabitants in all) have been under the spotlight since 1992. A very curious scientific experiment had begun: to make nutritional education in children, Eating habits of the whole family. And it worked: parents eat better, and the progression of obesity is stopped for 10 years among the youngest (whereas it has increased by 20% everywhere in the United States). Today, a new approach is proposed to the inhabitants: health coaching.

Habits have a hard life ...

What is it about? Personalized follow-up to correct his behavior ... and improve his health! For if one knows some of his bad habits, it is often difficult to change them. In detail, the coaches of Fleurbaix-Laventie first receive a visit from a dietician, who has filled the whole family with a very precise questionnaire on the eating habits and activities of the whole family: a "life balance" . A blood sample is also taken. After an analysis, any deviations and bad habits are identified: lack of physical activity, overweight, calcium deficiency, lack of fruits and vegetables ... When a more important problem is identified (diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, obesity ...), the person is Oriented, in addition to coaching, to the general practitioner.

The dietician sets goals with the coach realistic, and offers regular appointments over the phone. During these interviews, she gives an update on the follow-up of the recommendations and possibly sets new objectives ... Depending on the program, the frequency of calls varies: every quarter for calcium, every month for weight loss, all Weeks for stopping smoking. The duration of the follow-up is limited to one year.

Where are the fruits?

Who needs a coach? Everyone, according to the experience at Fleurbaix-Laventie! Of the 3,100 people who accepted follow-up, 92% needed to change one or more habits. The main problem was that of fruit and vegetables: Most people are far from the 5 fruits and vegetables recommended by specialists (but who today can avail themselves of eating the five fruits and vegetables?). Then come the problems of dyslipidemia (cholesterol and triglycerides), calcium, overweight, excess fat, high blood pressure, tobacco and physical activity. Everyone benefits from a targeted program.

Give landmarks

How to change habits with a banal phone call? In fact, it's not that simple. First point, you have to give some points of reference: a list of essential races, remind meal structures, learn to identify the most high-fat foods, learn how to optimize calcium intake. Then, the change is gradual. For example, for the overweight, the first appeals will focus on decreasing the fat intake ("If you have a fatty meat, do not take cheese at the same meal ..."). And it is only at the third call that we will expand to the question of physical activity. Knowing that the goal will be a loss of 5% of the total weight (15% maximum). Coaching, therefore, are small interventions, with reminders very punctual.

Best method

And apparently it works! Coaches succeed in changing their behavior. Raymond, 64, followed for his cholesterol, stresses that "this is the first time I managed to lower my rate, it had not happened in 25 years!". Of course, weight loss remains difficult to obtain, as testimonies highlight: "I have not lost weight, but I feel that my figure has changed," said Fran├žoise, Raymond's wife. One of the main problems is also to increase his physical activity ... But the coaches plebiscite the method they judge "absolutely not binding". A mother said that no one was eating fruit in her family, but today a basket of fruit stands on the table in the living room.

Certainly, the inhabitants of Fleurbaix and Laventie have been sensitized to health issues for several years, and the people recruited were voluntary and therefore motivated. But this experience shows that with a little help, it is possible to change habits that seems immutable to us, at any age! It remains to be seen, however, whether these good habits will persist after the telephone calls are stopped. Because if it seems quick to acquire new habits, it is possible to lose them even faster ... Moreover, the coaches are unanimous: they regret that the program has a limited duration. And above all they dread to be left to their own devices again. Some are talking about genuine drugs: just after receiving the phone call from the dietician, they are waiting impatiently for the next ... Next step: coaching ... to learn how to do without coaching!