Issaquah-based Habit Design Inc. has received a $1.7 million federal grant to advance research of its habit-coaching system that accelerates the formation of lasting healthy habits.

The National Institutes of Health grant is the first of its kind in investing in the emerging science of habit coaching, according to a company news release.

The grant “marks a key breakthrough in the acceptance of habit training by the U.S. healthcare industry, one that will hopefully encourage more employers, health plans, and healthcare payers and providers to prioritize habit coaching as a necessary ingredient for both individual and organizational wellbeing,” Habit Design founder and CEO Michael Kim said in an email.

“(It) also represents the highest hallmark of clinical validation, from the world’s largest funder of biomedical research, of our unique team of clinical psychologists and behavioral scientists at Habit Design,” Kim said.

The company’s program integrates behavior-changing protocols through a simple, personalized daily program supported by clinical psychologists and an optional smartphone app.

Habit Design has trained more than 100,000 employees from more than 500 companies and organizations, including Boeing and Starbucks.

The grant will fund a feasibility study and clinical trial over three years, applying Habit Design’s program to accelerate healthy new habits for workers at risk of metabolic syndrome. This condition affects more than a third of American adults and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute and TriHealth, a subsidiary of Catholic Health Initiatives, are partnering on the research.

Habit Design, which has nine employees, is self-funded by its founders and undisclosed private investors, Kim said.