Retail health fairs — one of the most exciting public health trends

 February 24, 2016 | By Alex Hurd

Retail health fairs — both mega events, such as Walmart’s “America’s Biggest Health Fair” on Oct. 10, 2015, or smaller, periodic local events hosted annually by thousands of retailers across the country — represent one of the simplest mechanisms for massive, individualized public awareness around such key health issues as flu prevention, early diabetes detection and/or prevention, and more.

(Click here to view DSN‘s special report on retail health fairs, “Health Event Horizon.”)

These events represent an access point for health services for millions of Americans who currently don’t engage with the system, whether it is for lack of insurance, lack of time or simply lack of knowledge on where to start.

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At the event Walmart organized last October, we completed nearly 300,000 screenings and more than 50,000 immunizations. Based on public health models, we estimate that nearly 7,000 customers learned that they had high blood pressure, and 3,000 customers learned that they might be diabetic. We also received hundreds of stories of customers for whom the screenings represented a wake-up call and who, in many cases, sought out additional medical professionals for follow-up.

Knowledge is the first step in one’s journey to self-improvement; after all, you can’t take action unless you know there is an issue.

Hosting these types of events makes a lot of sense for grocers and retail pharmacies. Not only can you engage consumers where they already are, but, more importantly, you can present them with a set of solutions around healthier food, activities and supplements.

Walmart, from a public health perspective, is uniquely positioned due to its sheer size and scale — estimated at 140 million customer visits weekly — and the broad assortment of products, services and solutions of which customers can take advantage to launch their journey to “live better” with healthy fresh food, pharmacy, vision, over-the-counter medications and exercise equipment and electronics.



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