The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that two out of three adults are either overweight or obese, with one out of every 20 falling into the category of extremely obese.
This means that a high number of your patients likely face some type of issues with food, whether it involves eating too much, eating too often, eating the wrong things (or all three) putting you in the perfect position to help them start to make better, healthier choices.
Helping patients make better food choices
Typically the first two issues can be remedied by teaching patients about portion control and setting a regular eating schedule so that they don’t get overly hungry, prompting them to overeat. However, eating the wrong things can oftentimes be harder to help them change.
This can be especially true because food often has such an emotional attachment for many people. For instance, when faced with a relative’s favorite recipe that reminds them of a happier time or if they tend to use food to help them cope with sadness, anger, frustration, or disappointment, these are often difficult associations to overcome.
Fortunately, a new study published in the American Marketing Association’s Journal of Marketing Research found that there is one tool that you can use to help patients make healthier food choices easily. It involves giving foods a score based on their nutritional value which, as it turns out, ultimately has quite an impact.
Study reveals positive impact of food scores
In this study, researchers looked at eight product categories involving over 535,000 individual shopper’s purchases via one grocery store’s frequent shoppers program. After placing point-of-sale nutrition scores (called the NuVal System, which stands for Nutritional Value) on various foods, they studied whether these numbers changed how often the items were purchased.
According to the results, the researchers concluded that the food scores had a positive impact because healthier foods were bought more often once the scores were in place. This was regardless of the price of the food, showing that food shoppers are putting a greater emphasis on their health when it comes to buying groceries than they are on buying the lowest cost foods available, most of which are void of nutrition.
How NuVal works
The way the NuVal system works is that a food is scored on a scale of 1 to 100, with 1 being extremely low in nutritional value and 100 being the highest amount of nutrition possible. The score itself is based on more than 30 different factors, some of which take into consideration the “good” things in the food (like nutrients and vitamins), others which are “not-so-good” (such as sugar and cholesterol). These are tallied up and a number is assigned.
That’s it. No figuring out calories, fat grams, sugar, or anything else. It really is that simple, which is clearly something that a lot of food shoppers love.
Many grocery chains, such as Food City, Raley’s, Price Cutter, and HyVee’s, have already implemented this system enabling you to send your patients to the one closest to you. If you want to locate the closest store to you, NuVal has a search option that can help. All you do is punch in your zip code and the radius and any available stores will appear in the results.
If this system hasn’t been implemented near you, patients can search the NuVal website to see what foods have high scores or suggest stores that should feature the system.
By giving them the tools they need to live a healthier lifestyle, you’re able to show them that you care about them as a person as well as a patient. That makes you a DC worth keeping!