Individual health management - a comprehensive lifestyle counselling programme for health promotion, disease prevention and patient education
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AbstractBACKGROUND Epidemiological data shows globally increasing numbers of obesity and stress-related diseases. In this article, a comprehensive medical lifestyle modification programme - called Individual Health Management (IHM) - is described in detail and discussed as a promising tool to individually manage and reverse such negative health trends in patients. METHODS The IHM programme is based on a blended learning concept. It comprises a 12-week basic training phase, followed by a 9-month maintenance phase, and includes the following key features: 1) web-based and physician-led health screenings; 2) a structured 12-week basic training with a core curriculum providing tuition in behavioural self-management strategies for weight loss and stress reduction; 3) weekly supervised group sessions during the core curriculum; 4) tailoring of materials, strategies and lifestyle goals; 5) continuous self-monitoring and feedback of the achieved progress; 6) regular contact with physicians or health professionals based on either face-to-face or distant lifestyle counselling; 7) recurrent one-day health seminars to ensure the sustainability of obtained results. CONCLUSIONS IHM is a multi-component lifestyle intervention programme to increase physical activity, to reduce calorie intake and to practice both self and stress management. Individual care, group support and a tailored web-based programme blend to achieve the desired goals. A randomised control study to evaluate IHM's effects on weight control is currently being conducted.