HEALTH

CRN: Dietary supplement users consciously seeking overall wellness

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Dietary supplement users take supplement products as just one component of a larger effort to develop a healthier lifestyle, according to a newly published review in Nutrition Journal, a peer-reviewed scientific publication. The review, “Health Habits and Other Characteristics of Supplement Users” (Nutrition Journal. 2014, 13:14), co-authored by Council for Responsible Nutrition consultant Annette Dickinson and CRN’s SVP scientific and regulatory affairs Duffy MacKay, examined data from 20 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and found that, “overall, the evidence suggests that users of dietary supplements are seeking wellness and are consciously adopting a variety of lifestyle habits that they consider to contribute to healthy living.” 

“Compiling the available data on the health habits of dietary supplement users, we gained a sharper insight into the positive lifestyle choices of this large segment — one half to two-thirds — of the American population that takes supplements,” Dickinson said. “Evidence from numerous surveys shows that dietary supplement users are more likely than non-users to adopt a number of positive health-related habits such as consuming healthier diets, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body weight and avoiding tobacco products.”

The review indicated that Americans who take dietary supplements are focused on wellness for the long term. MacKay observed, “Dietary supplement users typically make healthful habits part of each day, and many stick with their supplement regimen for years. Their supplement use doesn’t appear to be something trendy, but more of a planned strategy they maintain for the long haul.” 

The results of this review counter concerns that dietary supplement users are operating under a “halo effect” or are somehow short-changing themselves, eating poorly, using the remote control for exercise, and relying on a supplement alone for good health. The data indicate that, in fact, dietary supplement users make better food choices in addition to taking supplements. A report on the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys calculated nutrient intakes of dietary supplement users as compared to non-users and found that people who used dietary supplements had somewhat higher intakes of most nutrients from food alone (not counting the nutrients in dietary supplements) than people who were not supplement users. 

On the flip side, contrary to assertions that supplement users are eating better already and therefore don’t need the supplements they take, the NHANES data shows many Americans failed to consume the Estimated Average Requirement for many nutrients when only naturally-occurring nutrients in foods were considered. Enrichment and fortification of foods decreased the prevalence of intakes below the EAR, and the use of dietary supplements further decreased shortfalls. For example, for vitamin A and calcium, more than half of NHANES respondents fell short. Food fortification lowered the prevalence of shortfalls to 50% for these nutrients. Supplementation drove the prevalence of shortfalls down even further, but 33% of the respondents still fell short. 

“It’s important to give dietary supplement users credit for their efforts to improve their overall wellness profile with thoughtful choices,” said MacKay. “The scientific evidence indicates that they tend to incorporate these products into their lifestyles as part of a broader focus on healthy living, with supplement use just one of a constellation of smart, healthy habits.”

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CADCA, CHPA honor SAFE with this year’s Dose of Prevention Award

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Thursday joined forces to honor Chesterfield, Va.-based Substance Abuse Free Environment with this year’s Dose of Prevention award. The award recognizes community-based organizations that have implemented successful initiatives to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse and OTC cough medicine abuse.

"Prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse is a serious issue that is affecting communities across the country,” stated Gen. Arthur Dean, CADCA chairman and CEO. “Thankfully, there are coalitions like SAFE that are implementing innovative strategies to educate their community and prevent medicine abuse — engaging parents, youth, prescribers, policymakers and other key sectors. That’s why we’re honored to recognize SAFE as our 2014 Dose of Prevention award winner.”

The abuse of medicines — both prescription and OTC products — continues to be a major problem throughout the country. After discovering that OTC cough medicine abuse in its area was at levels significantly higher than the national average, SAFE disseminated educational materials to nearly 8,000 parents in their school district and educated their community about the dangers of abusing cough medicines containing dextromethorphan through community forums and health fairs.

The group also addressed prescription drug abuse by conducting prescriber education trainings for physicians and other healthcare providers and held prescription drug take-back day events.

“SAFE’s efforts show how local coalitions drive awareness and reduce abuse, and we applaud their efforts to educate their community and give parents and other community stakeholders the tools they need to fight this problem," commented CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville.

According to the 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey, 4% of teens have abused OTC cough medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan to get high over the past year. Teens report getting many of these medicines from home medicine cabinets and mistakenly believe that abusing them is “safer” than other drugs. CADCA is a partner of CHPA’s StopMedicineAbuse.org campaign educating teens and parents of teens about the dangers of OTC cough medicine abuse.

The group received its award Thursday during CADCA’s 24rd Annual National Leadership Forum at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is the nation’s largest training for substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals and researchers, attracting more than 2,500 community and state leaders from across the country.

 

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Prestige: Cough-cold category down 15%

BY Michael Johnsen

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — Cough-cold suppliers are presently operating in a challenging environment, noted Matthew Mannelly, Prestige Brands CEO, president and director, during a conference call Thursday. The return of Tylenol to the cough-cold aisle and the accompanying media splash from McNeil Consumer isn’t the only competitive factor impacting the cough-cold category, Mannelly said. The season is down more than 15% versus last year. And that lack of consumption, coupled with an overall soft retail environment, is forcing retailers to significantly cut back on inventories. 

"While we had a record cough-cold season last year and we didn’t anticipate to repeat that, we didn’t anticipate cough-cold would be down as much as it’s been down this year," Mannelly said. "When you take those three factors and combine them, that in aggregate, that’s what’s had a significant impact on our business."

The most significant challenge is the retailer inventory reductions, Mannelly noted. "We heard retailers talk about this three or four months ago, and it was really in November, late November and in December that we really saw it come to fruition as a result of what’s going on at retail. … The one that’s driving [category challenges] the greatest is the inventory reductions, which is something that really has just started in the last 60 days," he said. 

"From a cough-cold standpoint, if you recall, last year cough-cold really ranged from mid-December up until the beginning of February. I think at this point, if you look at retailers and other manufacturers, the season is not panning out," Mannelly noted. "Candidly, I think the retailers are not reordering and are now gearing up for the allergy season in anticipation of that."

 

 

 

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