HEALTH

SymphonyIRI: Retailers, manufacturers should tap baby boomer market

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO According to research released Thursday from the SymphonyIRI Group — “Healthcare III: Understanding the Age-Driven Health & Wellness Needs of Baby Boomers” — retailers and manufacturers that understand which ailments will be driving growth among baby boomers, and know how to link new and existing products to the treatment of these ailments, will be in a position to capitalize on this opportunity.

“Americans aged 55 and older represent more than one-third of the U.S. population,” stated KK Davey, managing partner, SymphonyIRI. “This number alone is quite staggering, and when you couple it with the fact that they control 50% of discretionary income and fill 30% more prescriptions than the average person, you have a golden opportunity. Retailers and manufacturers need to build shopper loyalty and a new competitive advantage around increased variety and in-store messaging that support categories, segments, and products with specific benefits that link to aged-driven health and wellness needs.”

“More and more aging consumers are searching for food and beverage solutions to help them maintain a quality of life in managing what are often multiple chronic disease states,” added Sean Seitzinger, partner, SymphonyIRI. “In fact, two-thirds of disease-state shopper spending is earned by the grocery channel, which indicates grocery retailers have the largest disease-state management dollar opportunity during the next decade.”

Surveyed shoppers across all ailments rank whole grains, reduced fat and reduced sodium as attributes they look for to manage their conditions, SymphonyIRI reported.

Other “top of mind” factors ailment shoppers take into consideration include:

  • High Blood Pressure — 87% of chronic sufferers depend heavily on prescriptions to treat their condition, but nearly 50% also focus on a healthy diet to manage and control their weight. They need to avoid high-sodium products, eat plenty of fiber and minimize high-fat, high-calorie products. Sugar-free diet candy, ground decaf coffee and sugar substitutes are popular products for these consumers;
  • Diabetes — These consumers manage and treat their serious health condition with a regular regimen of medication and a well-managed diet. They look to foods that are naturally high in fiber, protein and nutritional ingredients and avoid sugar-added foods and beverages and high-fat foods to control weight. Sugar-free chocolate candy, sugar substitutes, low-calorie soft drinks and single-serve dinner entrees that offer reduced calories and high protein appeal to these consumers;
  • High Cholesterol: 102 million chronic sufferers recognize that prescriptions can help reduce cholesterol levels but only in combination with a healthy diet. Since many high cholesterol sufferers have high blood pressure as well, there are frequent overlaps in how they treat their condition. Eating reduced-fat and low-cholesterol products are at the top of their list;
  • Heartburn/Acid Reflux: 77 million chronic sufferers rely on prescription and recent prescription-to-OTC products to manage their ailment. Proper diet plays a smaller role, so antacid tablets, antacid liquid/powder and laxative tablets are sought-after products.

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CDC continues to urge citizens to receive H1N1 flu shots

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still is recommending people who have not yet gotten their H1N1 flu shots that they do so. H1N1 vaccine is widely available, CDC officials noted.

In a conference call with reporters on Monday, the CDC that H1N1 has “not gone away,” with regional activity still being reported throughout the southeast, most notably in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Hospitalizations attributed to H1N1 have been on the rise for three consecutive weeks.

 

“The H1N1 flu has made 2009-2010 flu season one of the most challenging in recent memory,” suggested U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. “It’s persistent in the southeast and now those states are experiencing more local and regional activity,” she said. “We’re at a critical moment in our national response to this virus and we need to continue to urge Americans to get vaccinated, especially people at high risk from complications from H1N1.”

 

 

To date, approximately 60 million Americans have been infected and there’s been 265,000 hospitalizations, the CDC reported.  Close to 12,000 people have died from H1N1, about one-third the number of deaths attributed to influenza in a typical year. However, 11,000 deaths occurred in people under the age of 65, Anne Schuchat, CDC director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, noted. “That’s much more deaths in a particular year among younger people than what we typically see with seasonal flu.  We estimate that the rate of death in young people is probably five times higher than what we would typically see with seasonal influenza.”

 

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HHS offers grants to chronic disease management programs

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON The Department of Health and Human Services is offering $27 million in grants to chronic disease management programs that seek to aid older Americans.

The Communities Putting Prevention to Work Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will allow 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to provide self-management programs to older adults with chronic diseases build statewide delivery systems and develop the workforce that delivers these programs.

“Prevention activities can strengthen the nation’s healthcare infrastructure and reduce healthcare costs,” said said HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These new grants will provide an important opportunity for states, tribes, territories and communities to advance public health across the lifespan and to help reduce or eliminate health disparities.”

Chronic diseases include such conditions as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

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