Magazine article Drug Topics

Drugstores Seeking Healthy Fit with Health and Fitness Market

Magazine article Drug Topics

Drugstores Seeking Healthy Fit with Health and Fitness Market

Article excerpt

Is the fitness frenzy passe? Across America, more than 100 million people engage in formal, regular exercise programs, and many more are joining the fitness movement as they strive for healthier lifestyles.

While recent trends indicate the frenzied, "go for the burn" attitude has been replaced with a more sensible "go for a walk," the health and fitness market remains strong.

"In the 70s, we recommended an optimum amount of formal, strenuous exercise," said Steven N. Blair, M.D., fitness researcher at the Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research in Dallas. "While that still is the ideal, the reality is few people have the time or motivation. The new guidelines suggesting frequent, moderate exercise address the majority of sedentary Americans who won't jog or lift weights."

It's no longer necessary to join that health club or running club to be physically fit. Experts point out that simple changes in lifestyle, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and concentrating on diet and moderate exercise, can improve one's health. These new government guidelines have brought fitness to mainstream America.

While Americans may not be pumping iron, they are becoming increasingly concerned about cholesterol levels, low fat, low salt, natural ingredients, weight reduction, and an overall healthy lifestyle, which has fueled growth in the health and fitness industry.

Among the chains addressing this trend is Los Angeles-based Thrifty, which recently redid its "diet section" to include a line of Health Valley fat-free products and candy that are actually good for you.

"The trend is headed toward more health products," said Gary Rocheleau, senior v.p.-merchandise and sales for Thrifty. "Consumers are more educated about the products they buy. They look at the ingredients and the health benefits."

Last month, Thrifty unveiled a new health-care department in its Beverly Hills store. Separately merchandised as a store within a store, the department will offer 300 SKUs of health-related items, featuring homeopathic products (60 SKUs), vitamins (45 SKUs), herbs (45 SKUs), sports medicine products (45 SKUs), low-sodium items (90 SKUs), natural beauty products (30 SKUs), and natural juices and waters (20 SKUs).

"All 300 SKUs certainly will not be appropriate in every location," said Rocheleau. "However, a core selection will be integrated in all our stores."

Homeopathic merchandise is a trend of the future, as more consumers add healthful, natural items to their shopping lists. …

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