Kroger Health's “Food as Medicine” Platform Recognized as a Leading Healthy Lifestyle Approach by University of Cincinnati Study
At Kroger, we believe in Food as Medicine. That’s why Kroger Health, the healthcare division of The Kroger Co., funded the University of Cincinnati to execute a clinical research study that focused on how retailers, like Kroger, serve as an important healthcare destination by offering food and nutrition education to support the health and wellness of shoppers. The Supermarket and Web-based Intervention Targeting Nutrition study, known as SuperWIN, was a randomized controlled trial aimed at decreasing cardiovascular risk (heart disease) by encouraging a heart-healthy eating pattern known as the DASH diet, through nutrition counseling provided by a registered dietitian. Other partners in the study include UC Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
What is the DASH Diet?
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet, helps create a heart-healthy eating pattern for life by emphasizing the consumption of foods lower in sodium and saturated fat. This eating method is designed to help prevent or treat hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
The DASH eating plan focuses on daily and weekly nutritional goals and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fat.
How Was the SuperWIN Study Delivered?
The study included 247 University of Cincinnati Health Primary Care patients with at least one of the following cardiovascular risk factors: obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure) and/or hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol). Patients were randomly sorted into one of three groups and took part in follow-up appointments at three and six months. The three groups included:
- Control group: This group received initial standard care, including Medical Nutrition Therapy with a Kroger Health registered dietitian. Medical Nutrition Therapy, or MNT, is an evidence-based therapy that includes personalized, in-depth nutrition counseling focused on preventing, delaying, or managing health conditions.
- Strategy 1: This group received initial standard care of Medical Nutrition Therapy with a Kroger Health registered dietitian in addition to six in-aisle personalized education visits with a Kroger Health dietitian. These education visits included tips for reading product labels, identifying foods within the DASH diet, discussing the benefits of different food groups, how to use certain items and more.
- Strategy 2: This group received initial standard care of Medical Nutrition Therapy with a Kroger Health registered dietitian, six in-aisle personalized education visits with a Kroger Health dietitian as well as education on how to use online shopping tools such as grocery delivery, the Kroger app and OptUP, Kroger Health's industry-leading nutrition rating system designed to simplify healthier shopping.
What Were the Study Results?
The study found that in-aisle teaching, as was offered in strategies 1 and 2, significantly increased the shopper’s adherence to the heart-healthy eating style. Shoppers were more likely to stick to the DASH eating plan when in-aisle teaching was paired with education on how to use the available online tools, such as the Kroger app or Kroger’s OptUP nutrition ratings.
The SuperWIN trial is the latest evidence supporting Kroger's “Food as Medicine” platform and highlights the value of evidence-based nutrition care provided by registered dietitians. These new findings support the role of retailers like Kroger as important healthcare destinations alongside traditional healthcare settings. To learn more, read the official SuperWIN press release.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing health care recommendations. Please see a health care provider.