Developing and testing evidence-based weight management in Australian pharmacies: A Healthier Life Program
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Background Pharmacies represent a valuable opportunity to deliver weight management services, rather than just the routine supply of weight-loss products. In order to provide optimal services and translation of evidence-based weight management in community pharmacy, a best practice model program was designed and pilot tested to facilitate implementation of such services in pharmacies in Australia. Objective To develop and pilot a pharmacist-delivered, evidence-based, non-product-centred weight management service for community pharmacy in Australia. Setting Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Method A pharmacy-based weight management service called the A Healthier Life Program (AHLP), for overweight and obese individuals, was developed based on current Australian weight management guidelines and recommendations made by key stakeholders. The pharmacist undertook training to acquire specific competencies to deliver the program. The AHLP involved six individual face-to-face sessions with the pharmacist over 3 months. The intervention targeted three areas: diet, physical activity and behavioural change. Main outcome measures Weight, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, dietary intake, and physical activity levels at 3 months were compared with values at baseline. Qualitative feedback on participants’ satisfaction and willingness to pay were also analysed. Results Eight pharmacies provided the AHLP between February and December 2013. Thirty-four participants were enrolled in the AHLP; mean age 50.7 years (SD 15.7) and mean BMI 34.3 kg/m2 (SD 5.3). Of the 22 (65 %) participants who completed the program, six had achieved the target weight loss of ≥5 %. The mean change in weight was −3.5 kg (95 % CI −4.8, −2.2) and waist circumference −2.0 cm (95 % CI −2.8, −1.3) for program completers at 3 months. Furthermore, participants reported overall positive experiences of the program, and identified accessibility of the pharmacy and high comfort level with the pharmacist, as the major advantages. Conclusion The AHLP was well received and participants achieved targeted weight loss. This study demonstrated that an evidence-based patient-centred weight management program can be implemented in Australian pharmacies.
KeywordsAustralia Community pharmacy Competency-based training Obesity Overweight Pharmacist Pharmacy services Weight management
The authors would like to thank all the participants and community pharmacies that were involved in the study. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions by a research assistant, Ms Kim Bellamy, for assisting in recruitment, and conducting and transcribing the interviews. We would also like to thank Ms Annim Mohammad for conducting the interviews.
The Authors declare that no external funding has been obtained for the study.
Conflicts of interest
The Authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.
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