ASPPH logo


Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Georgia State: Supermarket-based Nutrition Counseling Can Be More Effective Than Clinic-based Service

Dietary counseling offered to obese people at supermarkets can be more effective in educating them in good eating habits than traditional clinic-based sessions, according to a pilot study co-authored by Dr. Douglas Roblin at Georgia State University’s School of Public Health.

The study, “The personal shopper – a pilot randomized trial of grocery store-based dietary advice” was published recently by PubMed in advance of publication in the journal Clinical Obesity.

The lead author is K. H. Lewis of the Kaiser Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research in Atlanta. Other authors are M. Leo of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, OR, and J.P. Block of the department of population medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The study included 55 participants with an average age of 44 whose body mass index met the medical diagnosis of obesity. The participants were not taking part in other weight loss programs and did most of the grocery shopping for their household. Sixty-four percent were women and 87 percent were non-Hispanic black.

Participants were randomized into a group who received in-store nutrition counseling and a group who received counseling in a traditional clinic setting.  Both groups received three monthly, 1-hour counseling sessions with a dietician. The in-store sessions were typically scheduled to coincide with when the study participant would normally make a shopping trip, with the dietician accompanying the participant through the store, offering advice and information.

Both groups of participants learned more about healthy eating, though grocery-store participants learned significantly more. Researchers reported that sessions at grocery stores are a promising way of delivering advice on healthier eating and noted that people enjoyed the store-based learning opportunities.

Researchers also noted that this “tailored approach” requires more time commitment from the dietician and patient.

Most of the study participants were African-American “a group that is disproportionately burdened by obesity,” as researchers wrote. “Furthermore, African Americans, especially Black women, have traditionally experienced sub-par weight-loss outcomes in dietary and weight management studies compared with their non-Hispanic White counterparts. It is promising that a group traditionally underrepresented in research and overburdened by weight-related disease responded favourably to this intervention.

To read the paper, go to: