The Significance of Technology and Retail Dietitians in Underserved Communities

What would you eat if you lived in an underserved, low income community with meager access to fresh, healthy food? Twenty-four million Americans live in food deserts with inadequate diets and poor health. Communities in food deserts are inundated with generations of higher obesity rates and widespread prevalence of chronic diseases.

Unfortunately, research shows improving the foodscape in these communities, by increasing the number of supermarkets, does not automatically coincide with positive behavior changes. Instead, this facade improves the image that healthier food is more accessible, but rates of obesity and chronic disease may be just as prevalent.

How do you increase fruit and vegetable intake and reduce processed food consumption in these neighborhoods to effectively improve overall health? Underserved communities require education and the necessary resources to take actionable steps to implement dietary changes to improve their health.

Healthie is proud to be partnering with Uplift Health Solutions in a nationwide effort to reduce food insecurity and lessen the impact of food deserts contributing to chronic disease. Our partnership proves that providing dietitians with an advanced technology platform in the retail environment benefits communities by improving biochemical markers of reduced risk of disease, advancing nutrition knowledge, engaging community members and improving self-efficacy and social connectedness.

Even more, basic nutrition education economically benefits these communities and retail chains like Shoprite and Browns by increasing basket size and the number of trips to the supermarket. With these impressive results, Healthie is excited to partner with leaders around the country to continue to make this a reality.

Healthie co-founder and CEO Erica Jain states, “Healthie was created with the belief that nutrition professionals change patient lives, so partnering with Uplift Health Solutions to make nutritional care more accessible to Americans is a cause we’re proud to be a part of.”

Uplift Health Solutions is a unique community-based program that aims to improve food access and the health of underserved communities. At the core of their program, Uplift Health Solutions revives grocery stores in underserved communities and positions registered dietitians in these retail environments to provide one-on-one counseling, community nutrition education, financial planning programs, and hands-on learning experiences.

The Rise of Retail Dietitians

Positioning retail dietitians in underserved communities is a significant step towards tampering escalating rates of obesity and chronic diseases. Intervening at the location where food decisions are made is ideal to provide the ultimate convenience for communities that are looking to implement healthy changes. Dietitians can work in a variety of capacities in the retail environment, including one-on-one counseling, group education sessions, cooking classes, supermarket tours, and more.

Communities that support local grocers benefit with flourishing community health, both physically and economically. Grocery stores with dietitians have more economic stability, observe larger basket sizes, customer loyalty and more frequent trips to the store. In conjunction with the financial planning support Uplift Health Solutions provides for communities, individuals and families are better able to allocate their budget to healthy foods and learn how to use them, reducing intake of convenience foods.

Technology Changes Community Health

Community access to making positive health decisions is further supported by Healthie, the advanced technology platform and client interface that each UpLift program member can access. Shoppers can meet with a dietitian in-store and immediately have a store-specific shopping list, coupons, recipes and meal plans available on their phone. Due to this increased engagement, supermarkets experience higher sales of fruits, vegetables and healthier packaged foods when working with dietitians while community health improves as well.

Providing integrated wellness services to an underserved community is a great feat, but with the aid of Healthie, individuals can have their health on their radar at all times. “Uplift Health Solutions is ecstatic to incorporate Healthie’s advanced technology interface into our services because it elevates our platform by improving accessibility and integrating nutrition education and resources into the daily lives of our consumers,” says Victoria Della Rocca, RD, LDN, Director of Health Innovations at Uplift Health Solutions. Every time someone sees the Healthie app on their phone, they will be encouraged to make healthier choices and remember the education provided by the supermarket dietitians.

Furthermore, Uplift Health Solutions is better able to quantify the positive changes that occur in these communities by tracking metrics and outcomes through the Healthie platform. Uplift Health Solutions provides a pre-program survey with every new client, which is repeated every 90 days. Uplift Health Solutions has found weight reductions and improvements in blood sugar control, blood pressure, and lipid panels, in addition to improved nutrition knowledge, engagement, self-efficacy and social connectedness throughout their programs. With close monitoring of metrics and outcomes, program directors are better able to tailor the programs offered to each community to have a significant impact overtime.

The Healthie team is excited about our collaboration with Uplift Health Solutions to create an interactive experience at the supermarket and streamline complete wellness care. To find out more about Healthie and Uplift Health Solutions, visit http://gethealthie.com or contact us at hello@gethealthie.com.

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