Walmart to hold online wellness event in lieu of annual health fair

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 700 views 

Walmart's new "Walmart Health" format will provide basic healthcare services including dental. The names of partner providers were not disclosed by the retail giant.

The Walmart annual health fair which typically takes place in the fall is being replaced by an online wellness event slated for Aug. 28-30. The three-day event will focus on nutritional, heart and mental health and feature recording artist Patti LaBelle, cardiologist Dr. Juan Rivera and psychiatrist Dr. Christine Crawford.

“We are worried about a secondary health crisis, as many people put off routine medical care while they social distance during the pandemic. But there are simple, preventive measures that can help manage many of these health issues,” said Dr. Tom Van Gilderhief, medical officer at Walmart. “Our goal is to empower every American to take small steps to maximize their health from home, whether it’s a simple ingredient swap, new exercise or tools to understand how to focus on health as a family.”

Walmart’s Wellness Live event can be accessed at the online portal set up by the retail giant for the endeavor.

The first session in the series will showcase LaBelle’s journey with type 2 diabetes which now impacts one in 10 adults. Another 70 million Americans are living with pre-diabetes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. LaBelle is expected to share how she manages her symptoms through diet and exercise. Van Gliderhief said the session will help customers better understand diabetes issues to help themselves or loved ones better manage this disease.

On Saturday (Aug. 29), Van Gliderhief said customers will hear from cardiologist and Univision Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Rivera as he shares resources on heart health, such as how customers can move and eat their way to lower blood pressure. Rivera’s session will explain how simple it can be to make meaningful health changes through diet and exercise.

A person dies every 37 seconds from cardiovascular disease making it the most deadly disease by annual mortality. Strokes claim a victim every 3.59 minutes in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association.

The final session will take place Sunday (Aug. 30) and feature Dr. Crawford, assistant professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine. She will discuss how to talk to family members about mental health needs. Crawford will also share why it’s important for customers to be transparent and ask for help when needed, as well as an overview of how to understand, manage and treat anxiety.

The CDC reports the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for many Americans raising fear and anxiety in adults and children. Health professions agree on stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes cause the following:
• Fear and worry about health and loss of job and finances;
• Changes in sleep or eating patterns;
• Difficulty sleeping or concentrating;
• Worsening of chronic health conditions; and
• Increased use of tobacco, alcohol and other controlled substances.

Walmart said the need to make the virtual sessions available comes as social distancing measures are keeping Americans home and also limiting the in-store wellness events such as screenings.

Walmart operates more than 4,700 pharmacies in its stores that also provide immunizations and health screenings. Walmart said it has conducted more than 4.4 million free health screenings at its wellness events since 2014.