The large array of products lining supermarket shelves and marketing techniques employed by manufacturers on food packaging often make selecting healthier products difficult. To help people living with diabetes improve their food choices, Diabetes Queensland developed group education sessions covering topics related to healthy eating and label reading. This program proved effective. However, evaluation results demonstrated a need to improve accessibility to individuals who may be precluded by work arrangements, transportation constraints and family responsibilities. Online education has been found effective in improving knowledge in managing chronic conditions, and offering a platform to access credible sources of information for geographically dispersed individuals.1 To address this, an interactive website designed to promote engagement and active learning was developed and a new online service called ‘Healthy Shopping’ was launched.
‘Healthy Shopping’ is an interactive website, which consists of six modules containing information on label reading and nutritional information based on Diabetes Australia’s Healthy Shopping Guide. The website also contains recipes, useful resources, video clips, games, healthy eating tips, and provides an opportunity to ask an Accredited Practicing Dietitian questions. Website usage was measured using Google Analytics.
Since the launch of ‘Healthy Shopping’ in June 2013, the website has reached over 5160 unique users with 74% from Queensland across a broad geographical area and 26% from interstate and overseas. Evaluations demonstrated an improvement in confidence about label reading and better understanding of nutrition.
A key foundation of diabetes self-management lies in empowering individuals with skills and knowledge to make better food choices. The ‘Healthy Shopping’ website initiative demonstrated high levels of consumer engagement and has been shown to improve access to credible information. By employing an interactive online approach, we provide a way of learning about label reading that is different from the traditional healthy shopping tour experience.