Consumer's Opinion on a Pharmacist's Role in Nutritional Counseling

  • Megan Meier School of Pharmacy, University of Wyoming
  • Reshmi Singh School of Pharmacy, University of Wyoming
  • Baskaran Thyagarajan School of Pharmacy, University of Wyoming
Keywords: nutrition, counseling, pharmacy education, public health, patient education

Abstract

Background: Nutrition has become an increasing health concern. From fad diets to exercise programs, the consumer seems to be consulting multiple resources that all provide a different answer in the process of obtaining optimal health. Easily accessible pharmacists may be the sources to answer crucial nutritional issues facing society today.

Methods: Using the results of a previous study about food perceptions among lean and non-lean populations, interview questions were created to determine the populations’ nutrition and pharmacist’s role knowledge. Nutrition knowledge among lean vs. non-lean consumers was assessed by determining experience with pharmacist nutritional counseling, how experience perceptions differed, and how these perceptions can shape a pharmacist’s role. Audio recorded interviews were conducted in a rural setting. Seventy-two English speaking, ambulatory, lean (BMI ≤ 24) and non-lean (BMI ≥ 25) residents between the ages 25-71 years participated in the study in a small western United States town.

Results: 26.3% of consumers obtained nutrition information from the internet; however, the internet and healthcare providers were considered the most trustworthy. When asked about the pharmacist’s role in nutrition counseling, 32.7% believed that pharmacists were not a reliable source based on education background. Another 10.2% thought pharmacists were too busy for counseling.

Discussion: This study indicates the consumers’ knowledge on pharmacists’ education, willingness to seek out nutrition knowledge, and a pharmacist’s ability to provide nutrition counseling can differ between lean and non-lean consumers. Lean consumers tend to have more interaction with a pharmacist whereas non-lean consumers do not.

Conclusion: As a profession, pharmacists should educate consumers on reliable nutrition resources, a pharmacist’s education, and how they use their role to provide consumers with nutrition knowledge.

article type

Original Research

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Dates
Received 2020-12-18
Accepted 2021-01-26
Published 2021-04-07
Section
Pharmacy Practice & Practice-Based Research