SHOPPING FOR A HEALTHIER YOU
In addition to picking up your medication at the Co-operative, you can now check your blood pressure, weight and cholesterol at stores with a Health Hub
Published 7 Jul 2017
Customers can now write have a health check to their list when they shop for food, as a blood pressure check, a body mass index (BMI) calculation and a cholesterol test are available at some stores. Two Midcounties Co-operative pharmacies have opened Health Hubs offering a free, in-store health scan for 40- to 74-year-olds, similar to the one elderly patients get once a year at GP surgeries, which could ease demand on doctors’ time.
‘Having the Health Hub takes some of the workload off the doctor, which hopefully saves money for the NHS in the long run,’ says Jawed Shaikh, Stourport Pharmacist Manager. The self-screening centres, which opened last year in Stourport-on- Severn in Worcestershire and Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, have been so successful that there are plans to open more.
The Stourport Health Hub is in the heart of the supermarket complex, which also has a post offi ce and a Co-operative Travel shop. There’s no need to make an appointment: customers simply ask pharmacy staff for a health check. They then go through a door beside the dispensing counter into a spotlessly clean room, which looks every bit like a hospital test area.
Trained staff supervise the tests, You can speak to a pharmacist in private at any time health which take just minutes. First your height is measured and you’re weighed – and given a printout from the electronic scales, so you can rejoice or start planning a diet. The supervisor uses this data to work out your body composition – revealing your BMI by taking your weight in kilograms, divided by your height in metres, squared.
Under 25 is normal, 25-28 is overweight and over 28 is obese, all of which is carefully explained. Finally, it’s time for the blood pressure test. Quick and painless, this involves resting your arm in a padded cuff in a small cylindrical device. A digital display reveals a set of numbers, which the supervisor assesses and then tells you if your blood pressure is within normal limits, or arranges a consultation with the pharmacist if it appears too high.
Food fraud – the clever marketing tactics we fall for
In the UK, there is more than £11 billion of food fraud – which is defined as a dishonest act or omission relating to the production or supply of food. ‘The most misused words on food products are “farm”, “fresh” and “local”,’ says Matthew Rymer. ‘People see these words and they think they’re getting quality. They have no idea of the extent to which they are being conned.
‘Others include “locally sourced”, “locally farmed” and “locally prepared”, when there’s nothing local about them at all.
‘When consumers see the word “fresh” on their egg carton, they think they’re from free-range chickens, when they’re from battery hens. They buy a chicken because it has the word “farm” in its name and they think it’s had a better life and it’s healthier because of that, but it can be from the same chicken farm in East Anglia as budget chickens. They get away with it because it’s the final point of production that gives an item its name.’