The role that pharmacists can play in early detection and prevention of illnesses, along with encouraging people to lose weight and get active, is revealed this week in a new report commissioned by Sainsbury’s Pharmacy entitled “The Wells Family Challenge: A Pharmacist First Approach”. The social experiment, independently monitored and evaluated by the respected think tank 2020health, assessed the impact of in-store pharmacy advice on the health and lifestyles of a sample of ten UK families – all with the surname Wells – over the course of 12 months.
The report is clear and strong evidence that regular contact with a pharmacist can have a measurable and positive impact on the public’s health literacy levels, which in turn can prevent illness, shrink waist lines and drive improvements in key health indicators such as cholesterol, blood pressure and weight. The year long Wells Family Challenge involved pairing each Wells family from across the country with a pharmacist from their local Sainsbury’s in-store pharmacy. Each family member had an initial health assessment with their pharmacist to develop a personal development plan which was monitored through monthly check-ups.
Exactly one year on, the below results were recorded by 2020health:
• 65% of adult participants lost weight during the course of the year with an average weight loss of 4kg
• On average, women lost 5cms off their waist line
• 58% of participants reduced their risk of a stroke or heart attack
• 68% had unhealthy levels of cholesterol at the start of the challenge but by the end of the challenge this halved to 32%
• The number of participants with high blood pressure halved by the end of the challenge
• 100% of participants said they had an improved understanding of health and diet which will enable them to sustain a healthier lifestyle in the long term
• One year on, 70% still engage in the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity
In response to the report findings and success of the Wells Family Challenge, Sainsbury’s Pharmacy is announcing the national pilot of a three month programme entitled “Healthy Living Plan” which includes tests to assess the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Emphasising the importance of early detection, the Sainsbury’s programme will be available to anyone over the age of 18. At a cost of [£40], the Sainsbury’s “Healthy Living Plan” will include three separate pharmacy appointments over the course of three months that will give each individual customer a personal development plan that will include dietary advice and monthly assessments aimed at proactively managing any risks and encouraging healthier living.