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Retailers Have the Recipe for Healthy Eating.

NEW YORK -- Diabetes cases aren't increasing as fast as in previous years, but the numbers are still climbing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million Americans are living with diabetes (30.3 million) or prediabetes (84.1 million).

To help quell the alarming number of diabetes and prediabetes cases, many supermarket chains are offering eating healthy tours as well as providing more screening programs in their pharmacy departments.

Mark Panzer, senior vice president of pharmacy health and wellness at Albertsons Cos., says the pharmacist is a central figure in these types of programs. "Increasingly, pharmacists are being recognized as a resource to enhance access to public health services. Where diabetes is concerned, our pharmacists provide a number of important services to assist patients in taking care of their diabetes and enhance their health education. For instance, pharmacists may recommend important immunizations that are recommended by the CDC, or recommend or perform health screening tests available to monitor and help manage diabetes, including blood glucose tests, Ale tests, blood pressure tests and cholesterol tests."

He explains that as a grocery and pharmacy chain, Albertsons Cos. has the ability to give the customer the total solution in terms of diet; lifestyle and health coaching; and pharmacy and clinical services. "By joining the expertise and public trust of our pharmacists with locally registered dietitians who are nutrition experts, it is one more way that community pharmacists can directly and conveniently provide care for customers through the pharmacy and adds to what we can bring to the communities we serve, in terms of food, drug and the clinical services."

Albertsons Cos. offers diabetic and prediabetic patients several programs specific to their specialized needs. These programs are designed to educate and support the patients, from proactively preventing diabetes to managing life with this disease, by offering a combination of pharmacy and grocery products and services.

"For example our Diabetes Prevention Program is a weight loss and fitness program with oversight by the CDC and is paid for by many employer groups and commercial health insurance plans," he says

"Classes include 10 to 20 participants and meet once a week for 16 weeks and then once a month for the balance of a year. Dietitians lead the program with support from store pharmacists, who meet briefly with each class by the pharmacy or meeting room. Solera Health is our contract partner and provides support with class registration," Panzer adds.

The chain also offers Eating Healthy with Diabetes, where in-house dietitians lead in-store classes to educate participants on healthier food choices, goal setting, reading nutrition labels and learning about mindful eating --all free to participating customers. "The 90-minute tour concludes at the pharmacy, where our pharmacists discuss additional programs and assistance to manage diabetes. All customers are welcomed to participate, regardless of their diabetes status. Our Eating Healthy with Diabetes grocery store tours are available throughout the year and coordinated and scheduled through local registered dietitians."

In addition, the retailer offers the Living365 Diabetes Program. "In partnership with Blue Cross of Idaho, we offer patients in select states Managing Your Diabetes classes to help Blue Cross members understand and proactively control their diabetes and general health through dietitian-led store tours and pharmacy guidance. The no-cost classes are part of the Blue Cross Living365 program, which delivers wellness guidance for members through printed materials, classes, online resources and in-home test kits. The Managing Your Diabetes classes are at various Albertsons, Jewel Osco, and Safeway stores in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico and Texas. Blue Cross members can enroll through their specific Blue Cross plan," Panzer explains.

Lastly, the chain offers the Tools for Living Healthy with Diabetes program. This six-month program is provided at Albertsons and Safeway for patients diagnosed with diabetes. Participation in the tools program be gins with a group class followed by four individual consultations with a specially trained pharmacist.

Kristin Williams, senior vice president and chief health officer at Hy-Vee, also feels the pharmacist is essential to these programs. "Unfortunately, nationwide statistics regarding the medications that diabetic patients take are very high. Hy-Vee pharmacists work hand in hand with our entire health and wellness teams to treat each patient in a holistic manner that incorporates food and medication. We know that when taken properly, medication can improve quality of life and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations."

She says Hy-Vee implements a team-oriented approach in its 10-week Begin for Diabetes lifestyle management program, including a specific class on medications that a Hy-Vee pharmacist teaches. "Food and medicine are a powerful combination to combat many disease states, including diabetes," she says.

She adds that with the opening of the supermarket chain's first Hy-Vee HealthMarket in West Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this year, it also launched a new meals-to-go program that includes diabetic-friendly meal and snack options. "In addition to consulting on meds/foods, they look at products such as glucose testing strips, pentips, glucose meters, needles. The goal of Hy-Vee pharmacists and dietitians is to treat the entire patient. That includes consulting with the patient about products they might need or have questions about to help manage their disease."

Hy-Vee's Begin for Diabetes lifestyle management program, in addition to its existing Begin and Begin 4 Kids programs are led by registered dietitians in Hy-Vee's 244 stores across its eight-state footprint.

People with diabetes face a specific set of health and nutrition challenges. The 10-week Begin for Diabetes program is customized to help attendees address those issues and manage their condition. Customers can schedule individual consultations or participate as part of a group for additional support.

Hy-Vee's Begin program provides building blocks for weight management through detailed journals and recommendations for healthier eating, including biometric screenings. More than 20,000 individuals have completed the 10-week lifestyle management program. The company also offers a four-week Begin 4 Kids program that emphasizes food groups, activity and eating for good health, along with the Hy-Vee KidsFit program and website that encourages children to get excited about moving and exercise.

Elsewhere, in-store dietitians at more than 190 Hy-Vee locations throughout its eight-state region offer weekly health shopping tours that focus on the nutritional aspects of lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as managing diabetes. The tours are free and will be offered every week.

As part of ShopRite's continued commitment to providing free health and wellness services to its shoppers, the supermarket is offering a variety of free diabetes-themed educational classes, food demonstrations and store tours led by in-store dietitians.

Our team of over 100 trained registered dietitians offers a wide array of classes, events and in-store food demonstrations focused on diabetes education, notes Natalie Menza-Crowe, director of health and wellness at ShopRite. "For customers who have been diagnosed with, or are taking care of someone who is living with diabetes, we hope these interactive events will help them to lead healthier lives, and assist them with their nutritional questions, needs and concerns while managing this condition."

While events vary from store to store, Menza-Crowe says that the ShopRite dietitian team also offers year-round free counseling sessions to assist customers who are looking for personalized assistance in managing diabetes, or other nutrition-related concerns. Customers can find out more information about diabetes-themed events happening at a ShopRite near them by visiting, or stopping in the office of their local dietitian.

As for customers who are looking for overall suggestions on how to make smart choices at the supermarket when managing diabetes, Menza-Crowe has a few suggestions;

* Make friends with the produce section. "There are countless ways to prepare fruits and vegetables so that they become a staple of your diet" says Menza-Crowe.

* Stay educated. "Along with exercise and any medications that may be recommended by your medical team, staying in control of your diet is important."

* Don't fear fruit. "Fruits contain carbohydrates but also have vitamins, minerals and fiber. It's OK to include whole fruit in your daily meal plan, just don't go overboard," says Menza-Crowe.

* Be adventurous. "An easy way to create more healthful meals is by incorporating different kinds of whole grains, lean meats and fish into your weekly repertoire--you'll never know if you like something unless you try it. And as a bonus, your family will get to enjoy new foods, too," she concludes.

Caption: Albertsons offers a 90-minute tour led by dietitians.

Caption: Panzer says Albertsons tries to give a total health solution.
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Title Annotation:Diabetes Care Report
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Nov 19, 2018
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