HEALTH

Target-funded study highlights cost of hunger in Minnesota

BY Allison Cerra

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Target-funded study, conducted by the University of Minnesota Food Industry Center, found that hunger costs Minnesota residents more than $1.62 billion annually in direct and indirect health and education costs.

The study found that hunger leads to poorer health and education outcomes. For example, Minnesotans pay $925 million in such annual direct medical expenditures as hospitalizations and medications related to hunger, as well as $333 million annually in such indirect medical expenditures as treating headaches and colds. Furthermore, the study found hungry teens likely will develop depression, while hungry adults more likely will be obese or have Type 2 diabetes.

To close the hunger gap in the state, Target has pledged 60,000 lbs. of nonperishable items to the Hunger-Free Minnesota coalition, which seeks to change the way individuals, organizations and governments view and respond to hunger. Target’s donations are part of the company’s continuing involvement in hunger relief nationwide. The coalition includes six Minnesota food banks.

 

 

In related news, Minnesota Public Radio is partnering with the collaboration to underscore hunger awareness with events and radio and digital promotions.

 

Click here to learn more about Hunger-Free Minnesota.

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HEALTH

Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet introduces CalciOs

BY Allison Cerra

VIENNA, Va. Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet has expanded its offerings to include calcium-fortified cookies designed to treat occasional heartburn.

CalciOs cookies are vanilla-flavored cookies, each one providing 30% of the daily value of dietary calcium, Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet said. The cookies contain calcium carbonate, designed to treat heartburn relief. CalciOs also are free of artificial colors and preservatives.

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Pharmacies should get out of tobacco-selling, into smoking-cessation game

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The news that San Francisco’s board of supervisors gave preliminary approval to ban tobacco sales at all retailers that operate pharmacies, including mass merchants and grocers, is a step in the right direction, because if drug stores are going to be banned from selling them, then all retail pharmacy outlets should be banned. However, there’s an even bigger picture to consider.

(THE NEWS: Report: San Francisco supervisors OK tobacco sales ban at pharmacies. For the full story, click here)

As many dollars as pharmacy retailers made selling cigarettes, there is much more to be gained in medication therapy management, and there is a significant opportunity for retail pharmacy to have a greater stake in the future of health care.

Cigarette smoking has been identified as the most important source of preventable disease, illness and death worldwide, according to the American Lung Association. Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 443,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly by "secondhand" smoke.

Furthermore, smoking-related healthcare expenditures are a major drain on the U.S. healthcare system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking cost the United States more than $193 billion in 2004, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct healthcare expenditures, or an average of $4,260 per adult smoker.

Clearly, there’s a positive role that pharmacists can play in smoking cessation. To further support this, a recently published study on the "effect of a pharmacist-managed smoking-cessation clinic on quit rates" found that pharmacists can play a vital role in smoking cessation, especially in a group setting, as they can reach more people within the same time frame.

The study found that at three months and six months, 47.6% and 52.4% of patients reported being smoke-free, respectively. The study was conducted on patients that had participated in the pharmacist-managed Smoking Cessation Group Clinic at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Participants received structured group counseling on various topics associated with cessation.

It also should be noted that in August, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that Medicare coverage for seniors trying to quit smoking was expanded to include everyone on Medicare.

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