March is National Nutrition Month. An annual campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Nutrition Month® encourages healthy eating habits through education about food and the benefits of physical activity. The theme this year is “Fuel for the Future,” with an eye on sustainability and environmental awareness.
The month of March will also see the first ever Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTRs), Day on March 9, as part of the month-long celebration of nutrition. NDTR Day was launched to recognize the efforts of NDTRs in advocating for quality food and nutrition.
Here are some ideas from the Academy on how to celebrate both NDTR day and Nutrition Month in general:
- Promote National Nutrition Month® with posters, flyers, or handouts by working with a local grocer
- Sponsor an in-person or virtual presentation on nutrition at a local park or senior center
- At home, limit your screen time during mealtimes, staying away from smart devices, computers, tablets, and phones
- Coordinate with a registered dietitian nutritionist to answer questions about nutrition on your social media page
- Offer online nutrition education sessions to offer suggestions on "how to eat healthy on a budget"
- Hold online classes teaching how to create new meals using leftovers
- Provide resources on how to reduce wasted food — including ways to store produce and other foods properly
- Express your appreciation for NDTRs in your workplace through handwritten notes from human resources or through announcements in community newspapers
What is the role of pharmacy in promoting healthy nutrition?
As the most accessible and visible health care provider, independent pharmacists are in a unique position to positively influence the health of patients in the communities they serve.
One of the most effective tools at a pharmacist’s disposal is education.
Educating patients on healthy eating, making customers understand how proper nutrition can prevent chronic conditions, and engaging in direct patient counseling can be invaluable in improving the health of the local community.
Pharmacies can promote awareness for nutrition by:
- Hosting wellness classes/consultations
- Offering point of care testing to identify nutritional deficiencies and other conditions
- Recommending vitamins and supplements for these deficiencies/conditions
- Blogging, posting, and advocating for optimal nutrition online through your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels
Engaging with patients
As community pharmacists, you can encourage your local patients to adopt healthier lifestyles centered on eating better, exercising, and being mindful of wellness. The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) even advises patients to check with their pharmacist before embarking on any new diet plans.
Food and exercise are seen to directly influence health and the prevalence of chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and cardiovascular diseases.
While the Nutrition Academy stresses the importance of eating the right food to stay healthy, it acknowledges the needs of certain population segments for supplements.
Ideally, all the nutrients your body needs are supplied through food. However, certain medications that treat chronic conditions are known to deplete the nutrients from your body before you absorb them.
Nutrient deficiencies are more common in certain segments of the population including pregnant women, teenagers, middle-aged people, and most people who take prescription medications to manage their chronic conditions.
Promoting wellness and creating profit
Displaying health products such as vitamins and supplements is an effective way to boost your pharmacy profits without worrying about DIR (Direct and Indirect Remuneration) fees and insurance plans.
Kelby Gorman of Moore's Pharmacy (left) explaining the benefits of supplements to a customer.
RxSafe customer and RapidPakRx user Kelby Gorman of Moore’s Compounding Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy with locations in Corpus Christi and Sinton, Texas, found remarkable success offering supplements to his patients. The reception for Gorman’s nutraceutical packs (dietary supplements for different conditions such as thyroid health, women’s health, heart health, and others) has been incredibly positive, with monthly sales of more than $30,000 for vitamins and supplements alone. “You can make two, three, four or more times [compared to] what you can make with prescriptions by selling supplements,” Gorman adds.
Gorman has found that the best way to promote nutraceutical products in his store is by bringing them front and center. “When they walk in my door, it smacks them right in the face,” he says.
Similarly, another RxSafe customer, Tim Mitchell, owner and pharmacist at Mitchell’s Drug Stores in Neosho, Missouri, offers packaged supplements to his patients and works closely with caregivers and physicians by incorporating the products into his patients’ med sync programs.
“We ask our patients if they have supplements. Do they take multivitamins? Do they take vitamin D or whatever? And then if they say ‘yes’, we go ahead and call the physician for an order, and we receive a monthly order for that product. And we go ahead and package that. That's increased our over-the-counter sales as well as increased the adherence packaging work for the team,” Mitchell explains.
“Most of our patients, when they see what kind of product the RapidPakRx produces, they think it's great, especially caregivers,” he adds.
Mitchell’s pharmacy also offers various wellness services such as nutrition depletion and preventive care, a vitamin program, as well as education and health management consulting for chronic diseases.
To learn more about how you can promote National Nutrition Month in your area or workplace, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ National Nutrition Month® resources page here.
To learn more about how adherence packaging program and automation can work for your pharmacy, speak with one of our Business Transformation experts at (833) 791-1772.