Life-changing for some and life-saving for others –
A Scientific, Scalable, Sustainable Lifestyle Coaching Program – a First in Corporate India, facilitated by Arogya World
It was a regular Monday, but as Rohit (name changed on request) sat at his desk at 10 am to begin working from home, he felt a sense of discomfort and got up again to go to the bathroom. He realized that in the last few months he felt a lot more thirsty, hungry, and fatigued. At first, he blamed it on the weather or because of something he might have eaten the previous night. As a strapping 32-year-old, who was not overweight, he never imagined that it was the onset of diabetes. “This can never happen to me” – a statement he proudly told his friends despite being a regular consumer of fast food and frozen meals. He went for a check-up and his doctor advised a blood test. Type 2 Diabetes – was the verdict. Thankfully, with timely intervention, diet control, exercise, and regular monitoring, Rohit is now leading a normal healthy life.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “the health you enjoy is largely your choice.” In the case of Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases, our lifestyle and eating habits are hugely critical. We know from compelling clinical studies and the World Health Organization that 80% of heart disease, 80% of diabetes can be prevented with 3 lifestyle changes – eat right, exercise, and avoid tobacco.
At Arogya World, we view this evidence as an urgent opportunity to create awareness around NCDs and their prevention and highlight the role that all of us, including companies in multiple sectors, can play to address it.
For more than a decade, Arogya World has been working on-the-ground in India across multiple communities, schools, and corporations to carry out our large population-level prevention programs. We firmly believe that preventive care is the smart solution to the NCD crisis, especially for ensuring the health of future generations. In this context, we have brought a life-changing and life-saving program, based on long-term research conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to help working Indians learn how to prevent diabetes.
This Lifestyle Coach Training program focuses on behavioral change for individuals in three broad areas namely, physical activity, stress management, and nutrition – and is brought by us to Indian companies for the first time. The training aims to build an army of informed Lifestyle Coaches in Arogya’s Healthy Workplaces who are passionate to bring about behavioral change in their high-risk colleagues. Leading the Lifestyle Coaching program is Anand Valavi, Founder of Aadit Life, an Arogya partner.
Trained at Emory University – Rollins School of Public Health, he firmly believes that “rolling out a successful lifestyle change program is simple, but not easy, as it requires the right mindset, commitment, and ownership from organizations, employees and lifestyle coaches to sustain and scale”. Success can be assured when individuals and organizations assign employee health the same importance as employee development initiatives such as technical training, and leadership development.
“I would say to a Lifestyle Coach, you need to have empathy and patience, and your primary motivation should be a desire to make a significant difference, and positively impact people’s lives.” shares Anand.
We launched the program recently in COVID times, adapting the training to a digital format, and are pleased that representatives from 5 companies completed the training and have become lifestyle coaches. We congratulate these pioneering Healthy Workplaces MTR, MSD, NTPC, Aditya Birla, and Persistent and look forward to working with them to ensure the 16-week lifestyle change class is rolled out further to their employees by their newly trained coaches.
As a result of our work, more and more companies acknowledge that NCDs such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, etc., are a deterrent to an individual and an organization’s growth and productivity. Studies have shown that people who take part in a structured lifestyle change program and lose 5% to 7% of their body weight through healthier eating and physical activity can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old).
Partner with us as we build a movement around healthy living and create a healthier future for working Indians.