Community pharmacy as a setting for public health nutrition action: Australian nutritionists

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Journal Article

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Maher, J., Lowe, J., & Hughes, R. (2014). Community pharmacy as a setting for public health nutrition action: Australian nutritionists. Public Health Nutrition, 1-9.

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Objective: To explore public health nutritionists’ perceptions of nutrition and its
place in community pharmacy (CP) presently and into the future; and to explore
perceived opportunities, feasibility and scope of public health nutrition (PHN)
interventions in CP, with a focus on maternal and infant nutrition.
Design: Qualitative data were gathered through semi-structured interviews and
drew on hermeneutics as the theoretical framework for analysis and interpretation. Setting: Queensland, Australia.
Subjects: Public health nutritionists, identified through purposive, criterion
sampling, were chosen due to (i) their role as potential stakeholders, (ii) their
knowledge and emphasis on nutrition and (iii) their practice experience.
Results: Opportunities for PHN action focused primarily on actions relating to early nutrient supplementation in pregnancy and breast-feeding protection and
promotion. Opportunities in CP were constrained by practitioners’ perception of
(i) conflict between health care and commercial interests in CP, (ii) problematic
practices in CP and (iii) values and motivations of practitioners and other
stakeholders in the CP sector. Strategies were suggested to improve practices and enhance the setting from a PHN perspective. Participants suggested both collaborative and regulatory approaches to achieve settings-based changes, identifying the need for these to coexist for effective outcomes. Conclusions: Public health nutritionists suggest that opportunities for PHN action are constrained by perceived conflicted interests and that consumers need to be adequately protected from the influence of commercial interests. PHN action in this setting needs adequate reflection on evidence as well as ethics ensuring that practices are ‘for the good’ of mothers and infants.

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