HEALTH

DSIB, CRN join others in opposing weight-loss claim petition

BY Michael Johnsen

SARASOTA, Fla. The Dietary Supplement Information Bureau, comprised of the American Herbal Products Association, New Hope (event organizer for NatExpo East and West) and the Natural Products Association, on Monday joined the Council for Responsible Nutrition in pledging to fight against a recently-filed citizen’s petition that would render weight-loss claims as disease state claims, a classification that would prohibit dietary supplement manufacturers from making any before-and-after weight loss claims in support of a dietary supplement diet aid.

The petition was jointly filed April 17 by GlaxoSmithKline, the American Dietetic Association, Shaping America’s Health and the Obesity Society.

In a blog posted Monday afternoon, the Bureau charged, “Many believe that this is an effort by GlaxoSmithKline, makers of alli, an over-the-counter weight loss drug, to quash competition from the dietary supplement weight loss industry. … GlaxoSmithKline’s petition has huge implications for dietary supplements, and we feel that a negative ruling by the FDA could result in more attacks from pharmaceutical companies, and perhaps eventually the death knell for the dietary supplements industry.”

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Washington state helps pregant women to quit smoking for Mother’s Day

BY Michael Johnsen

OLYMPIA, Wash. Washington’s state Department of Health has added new services to its free Tobacco Quit Line to provide pregnant women with more help when they’re ready to quit using tobacco in preparation for Mother’s Day, the agency announced Thursday.

The new tools include quit materials and extra follow-up calls specifically to help pregnant women increase their chances of quitting and remaining tobacco-free after the baby is born. Quit coaches have received additional training to better understand the challenges pregnant women face when trying to quit smoking.

In Washington, more than 8,700 babies are born each year to women who smoke during their pregnancy, the agency reported.

“Quitting smoking is a Mother’s Day gift that a pregnant woman can give to herself and her baby,” stated Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “Babies with moms who smoke are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and have health problems like ear infections and pneumonia. These new resources will make a real difference in the health of pregnant women and their babies.”

Washington’s maternal smoking rate has remained stagnant over the last several years. In 2006, about 12 percent of pregnant women reported smoking during the last three months of their pregnancy. Some groups continue to have higher than average rates, particularly young women (18 percent of those less than 25 years old), women receiving Medicaid benefits (17 percent) and American Indian women (23 percent). More than 40 percent of women who quit smoking during pregnancy start again within months after giving birth.

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Yakult available in Central Calif., Bay Area

BY Michael Johnsen

TORRANCE, Calif. After a successful launch in Southern California, Tokyo-based consumer products company Yakult Honsha on Tuesday announced that it is expanding distribution of its probiotic beverage Yakult. Yakult is now available in mainstream grocery chains in Central California as well as the San Francisco Bay Area, including Raley’s, Nob Hill Foods, Bel Air Market and Save Mart.

Yakult was first launched in California toward the end of third-quarter 2007. Previously, it was solely distributed through Asian and Hispanic grocery stores due to Yakult’s popularity among these populations.

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