Rutgers researcher Rupal Mansukhani is available to discuss how popular mobile resources such as wearables and apps can help people count calories and lose weight. She can also comment on how healthcare professionals, specifically pharmacists, can incorporate this technology into patient care and counseling.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects nearly 40 percent of adults and nearly 20 percent of children in the United States. Effective weight loss methods such as daily calorie tracking and dietary recommendations are two ways in which healthcare providers can help patients become healthier. 

“Tracking calories via mobile technology or paper allows patients to see what they are consuming and how many calories are in what foods,” said Mansukhani. “I recommend tracking calories before you begin eating to stay on track.  Also, it is important to enter everything, even small snacks and alcohol.”

In a study published in the journal Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, Mansukhani and her team evaluated student perceptions about calorie tracking to help them better understand the challenges of weight-loss and the importance of their role with patients.  

“Patient education is essential to helping them lose weight,” she said. “Across the nation, more research is being published that pharmacist education helps patients reduce negative long-term outcomes and better reach short-term goals.”

Pharmacists can identify patients whose weight loss can also help them reach other health goals, such as managing diabetes or high blood pressure.  

“Patients can ask their pharmacists if they feel comfortable talking about and educating them on weight-loss,” she said. “Not every pharmacist will be comfortable or trained in this area, but many are and a simple conversation can go a long way.”

Mansukhani is a clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice and administration at Rutgers Ernesto Mario School of Pharmacy. Her research interests include diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD, heart failure, women’s health and immunization, with a main focus on transitions of care.  

Mansukhani can be reached at [email protected].