Alive! is an online, evidence-based health and fitness coaching program. In a large, randomized controlled trial Alive! was proven to help individuals improve their diet and physical activity behaviors. The program was developed with funding from the US Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, and was created by NutritionQuest and researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, the University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford and Brown Universities.
Alive! is tailored to each individual -- because everyone is different. Whether you’re just starting out and have a long way to go, or if you’re already eating right and being active, Alive! has a program just for you. How does it do this? The program starts with a diet and physical activity health risk assessment, similar to the assessment that NutritionQuest developed for the astronauts on the International Space Station. This sophisticated yet simple tool measures your current diet and physical activity levels, and readiness for change.
We first want to know how and what you’re doing now, so the program begins with a brief questionnaire about your current eating habits and activity level.
A second questionnaire identifies your personal lifestyle factors (work, family, home life) and individual preferences (activity interests, diet restrictions), and uncovers your motivations and barriers to change.
After completing the baseline questionnaires, you receive instant feedback about the nutritional and activity factors that are important for your long-term health and wellness.
Alive! compares your current levels to the levels recommended for someone of your age and sex, and then suggests a Big Goal for you to work on for the next 12 weeks.
The Alive! program features 3 primary paths (Big Goals). You can work on these one at a time, and switch between them whenever you want.
1) Increase your physical activity
2) Increase your vegetable and fruit intake
3) Eat better fats, carbohydrates, and sugars
The goal of the Alive! program is to help you develop and maintain healthy behaviors that will last a lifetime. You may have a long way to go, but you need to get there one step at a time. Alive! guides you through that journey by breaking your Big Goal into small, achievable goals for you to work on each week.
Every week, Alive! emails you with the plan for the upcoming week and asks you to commit to one or two goals to work on that week. It suggests 4-6 goals that have been designed just for you, but the choice is yours. You can also write your own goals.
For example, if you’re just getting started and you’re not very active, one small goal might be to "Take a 15 minute walk at lunch on 2 days". Or, if you’re already active but still not doing enough, your goal might be to Bike for 25 minutes on 3 days this week. As you work on and reach your goals, Alive! works with you, by recommending goals that match your current level and that challenge you to move ahead.
Once a week Alive! asks you to report on your success in reaching the goals you worked on last week. This helps the program keep track of how you’re doing, and it helps you to build the confidence that comes from working on and achieving your goals.
And don’t worry about forgetting. Half way through the week Alive! send you another email to remind you about your chosen goals.
One of the keys to adopting and maintaining good habits is understanding why those habits are important, and having the right skills to act on that knowledge. Alive! understands that people come to the program from different starting points. Some people need basic training in the principles of good nutrition, while others are looking for a detailed explanation of specific health conditions.
Every week Alive! introduces and discusses a new topic, based on your interests. The Health Notes are brief articles based on the most current research, and explain key concepts such as the nature and sources of trans fats, or describe the evidence on the relationship between a given behavior and a health outcome, such as physical activity and breast cancer. Your weekly email includes a preview of the health topic, and the complete article is on your personal myAlive! home page. Powered with knowledge about the health risks and benefits of diet and activity choices, the weekly Health Note reinforces your motivation for making healthy lifestyle choices.
At the heart of the Alive! program is your personalized myAlive! web site. Think of it as your personal coach, who knows the goals you’re working on, and has the knowledge and training to help you achieve them.
You can log in at any time, but you’re taken there each time you select your weekly goals.
One of the powerful, interactive features on your myAlive! web site is the Trade-Off tool, which allows you to explore the impact that the specific small changes recommended by the program will have on your overall nutrition and activity status.
For example, ”How much closer would I be to the saturated fat recommendation if I reduced my hamburger intake from twice per week to once per week?” or “How much closer would I be to the guidelines for physical activity if I increased my evening walk time by 20 minutes?”
You can explore how the specific foods and beverages you eat effect your total calorie intake, your saturated and trans fat intake, your sugar intake and of course your fruit and vegetable intake. And you can explore how different activities (e.g., walking or swimming) impact your overall level of fitness.
Your myAlive! web site provides a cumulative summary of your successful weekly goals, as well as an explanation of the types of goals that are working for you.
Alive! recognizes that everyone learns in their own way. For some people, it’s enough to report on their success once per week, and you can do that right from your weekly email. But other people benefit by tracking their behaviors daily. Your myAlive! web site includes a daily tracking calendar reporting and graphing tool where you can log your weight, your fruit and vegetable intake and your daily activities. Alive! will graph your entries so that you can track your progress over time.
For many people, the Alive! emails and myAlive! web site are enough to keep them on track and moving forward. But some people need more than that. Health behavior research clearly shows that increased support translates into greater and longer lasting change. Consistent, repeated contacts reinforce the core message, remind you about why you’re working on your goals, and motivate you to succeed.
The National Institute on Aging recognizes that and provided the funding for NutritionQuest to expand the ways in which Alive! motivates participants. In a unique collaboration between researchers at NutritionQuest, UC Berkeley, Stanford and Brown, Alive! has expanded to include optional automated, tailored telephone coaching and optional tailored, mailed newsletters.
Currently, these additional outreach arms are only available to corporate purchasers of the Alive! program.
The NutritionQuest Alive! Phone Coaching Program reaches out to Alive! participants every other week to encourage success, and to help overcome the roadblocks that we all face when we try to make changes. This automated system communicates with your myAlive! web page, so it knows what goals you’re working on and how successful you've been, and it calls you when you need some extra help.
The Phone Coach engages you in a conversation about your goals, and provides the tips and guidance you need to stay motivated or to get get back on track. The calls are friendly, informative, smart, and short. Each call takes 3-5 minutes -- just enough time to find out how you’re doing, and to encourage you to keep working on your Alive! goals.
Still not convinced? Click here to listen to a sample segment from an Alive! Phone Coaching call.
Before there was email and text messaging, Twitter feeds and Facebook friends, we all used to send each other good old, fashioned snail mail. We recognize that many Alive! participants still want something that stays with them when the power goes off. The myAlive! Coaching Letter is an individually tailored, monthly newsletter that’s built just for you. It communicates with your myAlive! web page, so it knows what goals you’re working on, what roadblocks you may be facing, and what motivates you to change.
Many of us face similar issues when trying to adopt and maintain new health habits, but we don’t all face them at exactly the same time or in exactly the same way. That’s why every myAlive! coaching letter is designed just for you, using the information you gave when you signed up for Alive!, and the updates you provide as you work towards your goals.
Each 4-page newsletter includes the information you need to help you accomplish your Alive! goals, including recipes, fitness and activity guides, coaching tips and tricks, interactive worksheets, advice from experts and the motivation you need to keep moving forward.
The myAlive! website, the Alive! Emails, the Alive! Phone Coaching program, and the myAlive! Coaching Letter: each program stands on its own as a powerful tool to help you get from where you are to where you want to be. But when taken together they are even more than than the sum of their parts. Together they represent the most advanced, individually tailored diet and activity Health coaching system available today.