Provide Far-Reaching Benefits Using a Lifestyle Nutrition Counseling Program
by Howard Berg, D.C., C.C.S.P., and Christopher Fuzy, M.S., R.D, L.D/N.
As chiropractors, most of the nutritional counseling programs we offer our patients focus on nutritional supplements. Occasionally, meal replacements or packaged foods are recommended. Go to the weight management section in your local yellow pages. Everybody is advertising medications, packaged foods, meal replacements or expensive, network marketing weight loss and detox products. Typically, our patients would buy those products and/or foods; they would lose some weight, eventually stop taking the products, and then gain that weight back, plus some.
Some of our patients have tried menu-planning web sites that send recipes and general menus weekly. But a recent study, performed by the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Weight & Eating Disorders Program, found that these "one-size-fits-all" meal plans are not that effective. The study, published in the Obesity Research Journal, followed forty-seven women over the course of a year.
The women were provided one year of intensive motivational menus, e-mails (two to three times per week), articles, food recipes, food journals, calorie-logging and exercise suggestions. The results of the study found that the internet counseling participants only lost about four percent of their body weight after one year of counseling. The authors concluded, "These findings suggest that consumers are unlikely to achieve clinically significant weight loss by using internet programs that provide primarily information about diet and physical activity."1 We are learning that face to face individualized health risk assessments, office-based nutritional counseling and wellness programs are more effective and generate significantly more nutritional referrals than internet based nutrition counseling programs.
Personalizing Nutritional Seminars & Corporate Wellness Programs Using Health Risk Assessments
Nutritional Workshops can be a great tool for driving new patients to your door. Who doesn’t want to lose weight? With a little leg work, a power-point presentation that reviews, and an effective program that can deliver accurate, individualized nutrition counseling and health risk assessment to groups or individuals, the process can be fairly simple. Effective workshops can be done either in your office, locally at hotels or corporations, at community gatherings or at local small businesses.
You can use a power point presentation that corresponds to the client’s health risk assessment report. First, you distribute the Health Risk Assessment forms to all your attendees at the beginning of the workshop. By reviewing each page, while the clients have reports that provide specific lifestyle recommendations, it will make them feel that the seminar is individualized for them. This is the most personalized way to deliver nutrition counseling and health risk assessment to groups. Also, any reports you provide to your clients should carry the practice name and phone number on it, to make follow-up office appointments for chiropractic or nutrition counseling.
The Secret of Generating Significant Chiropractic Referrals to Your Practice
Here’s the secret! You must offer something to the community that your competition is not. In this time of financial awareness, people are looking for more value for their dollars. If you can offer customized and personal nutritional programs to each patient, that has been validated by the University of Southern California, without selling nutritional products and giving them unrealistic food restrictions, and still get results—you will be very busy!
One of the keys will be to provide a program, based on the patient’s food preferences, metabolic rate, age, height, weight, lean mass and activity level. You can be assured that the patients will get the clinical results they are looking for—without hunger or fatigue. When you provide a program which is based on education and long-term behavior modification techniques, and your patients are seeing results, your office will be flooded with referrals.
You can teach your chiropractic assistant to do quick Health Risk Assessments and patients will jump at the opportunity to receive one. The Consumer Center for Public Interest (CSPI) conducted a study, which showed the average commercialized weight loss program in America costs from $960 to $1,600 per client to lose 20 pounds. These programs were not physician supervised and, generally, patients regained the weight they had lost after they stopped buying the nutritional products.
Depending upon your market, you can charge anywhere from $395 to $495 for a four to six session package of individualized weekly nutritional sessions, or approximately $295 per client, for group workshops that focus on eating real food. This means, that you can offer a program, based out of your office that costs less than one-third of the national average for a nutrition/weight-loss program. When your patients see the value of this, not only will they be more likely to participate, they will be more likely to refer, as well.
Howard Berg, D.C., C.C.S.P., graduated from Life Chiropractic College in 1997. He holds certifications as both a Golf Fitness Instructor and Yoga Instructor. Dr. Berg is the owner of Island Chiropractic and Wellness Center, located on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Christopher Fuzy, M.S, R.D., L.D., has a Masters degree in Clinical & Sports Nutrition and undergraduate degrees in nutrition and chemistry and has implemented and trained over 700 physicians nationwide with the Lifestyle Nutrition program in the past nineteen years.For more information or a Practice Consultation, go to www.PhysicianWellnessProgram.com or call 1-800-699-8106.
1. Obesity Research Journal, 2004 Jun;12(6):1011-8.