Evaluation of the first pharmacy-led weight management programme in Greece

Peletidi, A and Kayyali, R (2021) Evaluation of the first pharmacy-led weight management programme in Greece. In: Health Services Research and Pharmacy Practice (HSRPP) Conference 2021 : Designing Healthcare: Stimulating Interdisciplinarity and Co-design for Quality Healthcare; 08-09 Apr 2021, Held online. ISSN (print) 0961-7671 (Unpublished)


Introduction Obesity is one of the main cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.(1) In primary care, pharmacists are in a unique position to offer weight management (WM) interventions. Greece is the European country with the highest number of pharmacies (84.06 pharmacies per 100,000 citizens).(2) The UK was chosen as a reference country, because of the structured public health services offered, the local knowledge and because it was considered to be the closest country to Greece geographically, unlike Australia and Canada, where there is also evidence confirming the potential role of pharmacists in WM. Aim To design and evaluate a 10-week WM programme offered by trained pharmacists in Patras. Methods This WM programme was a step ahead of other interventions worldwide as apart from the usual measuring parameters (weight, body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure (BP)) it also offered an AUDIT-C and Mediterranean diet score tests. Results In total,117 individuals participated. Of those, 97.4% (n=114), achieved the programme’s aim, losing at least 5% of their initial weight. The mean % of total weight loss (10th week) was 8.97% (SD2.65), and the t-test showed statistically significant results (P<0.001; 95% CI [8.48, 9.45]). The programme also helped participants to reduce their waist-to-height ratio, an early indicator of the CVD risk in both male (P=0.004) and female (P<0.001) participants. Additionally, it improved participants’ BP, AUDIT-C score and physical activity levels significantly (P<0.001). Conclusion The research is the first systematic effort in Greece to initiate and explore the potential role of pharmacists in public health. The successful results of this WM programme constitute a first step towards the structured incorporation of pharmacists in public’s health promotion. It proposed a model for effectively delivering public health services in Greece. This study adds to the evidence in relation to pharmacists’ CVD role in public health with outcomes that superseded other pharmacy-led WM programmes. It also provides the first evidence that Greek pharmacists have the potential to play an important role within primary healthcare and that after training they are able to provide public health services for both the public’s benefit and their clinical role enhancement. This primary evidence should support the Panhellenic Pharmaceutical Association, to “fight” for their rights for an active role in primary care. In terms of limitations, it must be noted that the participants’ collected data were recorded by pharmacists, and the analysis therefore depended on the accuracy of the recorded data, in particular on the measurements or calculations obtained. Although the sample size was achieved, it can be argued that it is small for the generalisation of findings across Greece. Therefore, the WM programme should be offered in other Greek cities to identify if similar results can be replicated, so as to consolidate the contribution of pharmacists in promoting public health. Additionally, the study was limited as it did not include a control group. Despite the limitations, our findings provide a model for a pharmacy-led public health programme revolving around WM that can be used as a model for services in the future. References 1. Mendis S, Puska P, Norrving B, World Health Organization., World Heart Federation., World Stroke Organization. Global atlas on cardiovascular disease prevention and control [Internet]. Geneva: World Health Organization in collaboration with the World Heart Federation and the World Stroke Organization; 2011 [cited 2018 Jun 26]. 155 p. Available from: http://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/publications/atlas_cvd/en/ 2. Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union. Pharmacy with you throughout life:PGEU Annual Report [Internet]. 2015. Available from: https://www.pgeu.eu/en/library/530:annual-report-2015.html

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