HHS, Ad Council launch television PSAs for H1N1
WASHINGTON Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday announced that the Department of Health and Human Services has joined with the Ad Council to launch a series of national television public service advertisements designed to encourage Americans to take steps to protect themselves from the 2009 H1N1 flu virus.
The ads are designed specifically to reach children, parents, pregnant women and young adults. A second series of PSAs, aimed at encouraging high-risk populations to get the H1N1 vaccination, is launching in late October.
Included in the PSAs being released Thursday were new spots featuring characters from “Sesame Street” and the winning spots from the recent 2009 Flu Prevention PSA Contest sponsored by HHS. The Ad Council distributed the PSAs nationwide and the ads will be supported in airtime donated by television stations nationwide. The spots also will be available at Flu.gov, the government’s one-stop Web site for all the latest information on both seasonal and H1N1 flu.
The PSAs include:
- Targeting young adults — the winning PSA video from HHS’ national 2009 Flu Prevention PSA Contest on YouTube featuring the “hip hop doc,” along with four additional videos from the contest, will aim to reach those ages 17 to 24. More than 50,000 votes were cast for the contest. The PSAs are available in 30-second and 60-second lengths, and include a Spanish-language spot;
- Targeting parents and pregnant women — produced by HHS, a new series of TV ads featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, singer Marc Anthony and actress Amy Ryan, aim to reach parents and pregnant women. The PSA featuring Marc Anthony also is available in Spanish, and the ads are in 30-second length; and
- Targeting parents and children — designed to reach children under the age of 5 and their parents, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street,” produced two new television PSAs. “Sesame Street’s” Elmo and Rosita have a new song teaching children the proper way to sneeze, while Elmo and Luis talk to parents about the importance of creating a plan to keep their children home from school if they get sick. These messages build on a PSA Sesame Workshop released with HHS and the Ad Council earlier this year, which explained the importance of practicing healthy habits this flu season. The PSAs are available in English and Spanish and are in 30-second lengths.
“While getting a flu vaccine is the best way for Americans to protect themselves and their families from the flu, as we wait for the H1N1 vaccine to get distributed out into local doctors’ offices and sites across the country, there are critically important things that Americans can be doing right now to keep their friends and family healthy and safe and to prevent the spread of flu,” Sebelius said. “These new prevention PSAs will help us get the word out about what to do about the flu. Fighting the flu is a shared responsibility between all of us, and we are so grateful to all those who helped create these wonderful new messages. We are hopeful that Americans will spread these new PSAs virally and use to them to help stop the spread of H1N1 and seasonal flu,” she said.
New research finds link between antioxidants, increased diabetes risk
ST. LOUIS A new report in the Oct. 7 issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, found that low levels of free radicals – which commonly are perceived as damaging to a body and the reason behind the consumption of antioxidant vitamins – might actually prevent diabetes by improving the ability to respond to insulin signals.
“Our studies indicate that ‘physiological’ low levels of [free radicals] may promote the insulin response and attenuate insulin resistance early in the progression of Type 2 diabetes, prior to overt obesity and hyperglycemia,” stated Tony Tiganis of Monash University in Australia.
Tiganis said whether antioxidants ultimately are good for people probably will depend on their state of health or disease. “In the case of early Type 2 diabetes and the development of insulin resistance, our studies suggest that antioxidants would be bad for you,” he said.
Under some conditions, treatments designed to selectively increase ROS in muscle – if they can be devised – might even help, he said.
Florastor products to be sold at CVS/pharmacy
SAN BRUNO, Calif. As part of its continued expansion throughout the U.S. retail market, Biocodex, the U.S. distributor of Florastor and Florastor Kids, has secured distribution through CVS/pharmacy beginning this month, the company announced. Florastor will be placed on-shelf in the stomach/digestives aisle, while Florastor Kids will be available upon request behind the counter.
According to Dan Harper, director of sales for Biocodex, the stomach/digestives aisle is the most appropriate spot for this product – in the company of popular anti-diarrheal remedies.
“While Florastor is technically a dietary supplement, it is used successfully by many to manage digestive ailments and diarrhea, so it makes sense for it to be available in the section where the consumer will be looking for those types of items,” Harper said.
“When Florastor was first introduced to Americans, the idea of probiotics was not well understood by mainstream consumers or even traditional medical practitioners,” stated Marc Rohman, U.S. VP and GM of Biocodex. “However, as Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of probiotics, particularly yeast-based probiotics such as Florastor, expanding distribution into the chain stores was the next logical step to meet the demand we’re seeing.”
According to Rohman, sales of Florastor have grown annually, even without widespread on-shelf availability, as a result of increased pharmacist and consumer awareness of the probiotic category, word-of-mouth and physician recommendations.
The latest chain shelf space acquisitions are the result of Biocodex’s work with Morgan & Sampson USA, with which Biocodex teamed to help manage its growth and distribution within the U.S. retail trade.