Lisa Tamura goes to the grocery store, she usually picks up a
few frozen pizzas for the nights she doesnít want to cook.
But on a
recent Thursday afternoon at the Ralphs supermarket in Laguna
Hills, Calif., she strolled right by the frozen food and
headed straight to the fruits and vegetables.
because she had some help from the ultimate personal shopper
ó a family doctor named Phil Cecchini.
do you like to eat?" he asked.
food," she responded, laughing.
who works for St. Joseph Hoag Health in Orange County, spent
the afternoon advising shoppers on what foods to buy ó and
what to avoid.
you stick with the periphery, you are probably doing
okay," Cecchini told Tamura, who recently moved from
Hawaii to California. "You are avoiding all the
pre-packaged, processed foods."
and health clinics around the country are increasing their
efforts to promote exercise and healthy eating. Theyíre
offering yoga and cooking classes, sponsoring farmers markets
and writing prescriptions for fresh fruits and vegetables.
hospital in Connecticut opened a primary care clinic in a Stop
& Shop supermarket and another in Michigan opened a
demonstration kitchen. In California and Virginia, hospitals
have partnered with schools to teach children about nutrition
programs attract new patients and build loyalty, but many
nonprofit hospitals are also driven by a federal mandate to
improve health outcomes in the communities they serve. In
addition, some hospitals are working under new payment models
as a result of the Affordable Care Act in which they are
compensated and held accountable for results more than ever
before. That has led to more integration with primary care
clinics, as well as more projects and campaigns to help reduce
chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
37 percent of Americans were obese between 2011 and 2014,
according to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. Even in affluent Orange County,
California, where obesity levels are lower, Cecchini said
patients donít always know what foods cause weight gain or
raise their blood sugar.
tend to know a lot more about nutrition, but there are still a
lot of misconceptions out there," he said. "There is
a lot of room for improvement."
Joseph Hoag Healthís recent campaign is called "Shop
with Your Doc" and is based at Ralphs supermarkets
throughout Orange County.
stores are an ideal place to teach people that they can become
healthier by making small dietary changes and eating in
moderation, said Vanessa Rosales, community affairs manager
for Ralphs & Food 4 Less.
better place to reach the public with that message,"
said that the doctor and dietician help ease confusion for
shoppers as they try to make healthy choices. "It can be
pretty intimidating to someone who may not know how to read
those labels," Rosales said.
shoppers didnít have to be St. Josephís patients to get
guidance from physicians as they fill up their shopping carts.
Cecchini and a hospital nutritionist stood next to the
pharmacy behind a table answering questions. One woman said
she wanted to sweeten her tea and coffee and asked about the
best substitute for sugar. A man said he was a vegetarian and
took medication daily but that his cholesterol was still too
like you are doing everything right," Cecchini told him.
"Just donít give up the exercise."
also received a free bag with measuring cups and a card with
tips for navigating the grocery store: Choose foods with more
fiber and less sugar. Use fish as a main ingredient instead of
meat. Aim for a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Tamura and Cecchini pushed her cart through the store, she
grabbed a few fruits, including apples and pears. Then they
stopped in front of the bread aisle. She picked up a loaf of
country potato bread and they looked at the label together.
Tamura said she didnít realize that the bread had so much
sodium. And thatís before you add salted butter and garlic,
encouraged her to keep an eye on sodium levels in future
shopping trips. But he also assured her that itís okay to
have to satisfy the mind and heart as well as your
stomach," he said.
has high blood pressure and high cholesterol and knows she
needs to watch her diet. Shopping with the doctor was a
reminder that one way to do that is by reading labels more
night, though, Tamura said she was sticking with her plans for
spaghetti and garlic bread.
like you have a nice dinner planned," he said, laughing.
"When do we get to come over?"