WAG, AARP extend U.S. health-screening road trip

DEERFIELD, Ill. —For the second time, Walgreens and AARP are teaming up to bring free preventive health services to millions of Americans.

The nation’s top drug store retailer and largest organization for retirees kicked off the second leg of a two-year, national mobile health-screening tour April 21. Now in its second year, the AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour will administer more than 2.5 million free health screenings in more than 3,000 communities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico by the time the two-year campaign wraps up late this year, Walgreens predicted.

The free tests—which include total cholesterol levels, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels, waist circumference and body mass index—are aimed at providing adults “with a critical foundation for early disease detection and prevention,” noted Walgreens and AARP in a joint statement.

To date, the AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour has administered more than $27 million in free screenings, with a two-year goal of providing $60 million in tests. The tour is comprised of nine custom-equipped buses with dedicated staff of certified health screeners that travel separate routes canvassing the country. Each bus spends several days in designated cities providing free services at local events, community centers, Walgreens store locations and other locations with a special emphasis on underserved communities.

After the screenings are performed, a pharmacist or staff member instantly provides the results and reviews them with the consumer.

The results thus far have been eye-opening—and they spotlight a population in need of both health services and lifestyle and dietary changes. Of those screened during the 2009 tours, Walgreens noted, 68.0% had high body mass index, 64.1% had high blood pressure levels, 40.7% had high cholesterol levels and 36.4% had low bone density. “The results from the first year on the road speak volumes to the need for these basic screenings,” said AARP CEO A. Barry Rand.

“During previous tours, I’ve seen how these free screenings can be a life-saving resource. We’re proud to carry on that tradition,” Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson added. “AARP is the perfect ally because of the campaign’s dedication to improving lives and offering greater access to health resources, particularly among those most in need. Together, we can tap into our strong community networks to make sure the tour reaches the people who need us most.”

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