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Lunchables extends line with kid-friendly smoothie

BY Allison Cerra

MADISON, Wis. — Lunchables has extended its line of lunchtime meals for kids.

New Lunchables with Smoothie includes a Chiquita strawberry banana smoothie that is paired alongside kid favorite foods, such as deep dish pizza with pepperoni, chicken strips and turkey subs, along with a small treat.

"Moms tell us they need wholesome lunchtime options for their kids, but kids want an exciting lunch they look forward to eating," Lunchables director of marketing Joe Fragnito said. "That’s why we created new Lunchables with Smoothie. Filled with kid-favorite foods and a smoothie made with real fruit, these varieties give moms choices they can feel good about and kids are thrilled to have a lunchtime option that’s fun to eat."

New Lunchables with Smoothie offerings are available now in the refrigerated section of grocery stores nationwide with a suggested retail price of $3.79 per pack.

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Rite Aid launches nationwide health-and-wellness effort

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid is launching a six-month, nationwide health-and-wellness campaign to mark its 50 years of operation, the retail pharmacy chain said Wednesday.

RA50, as the new campaign is called, began Wednesday near the company’s headquarters in Camp Hill, Pa., and will move on to the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg Thursday through Saturday. Afterward, it will move on to Baltimore; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Scranton, Pa.; Cleveland; Detroit; Portland, Ore.; Los Angeles; Atlanta; Norfolk, Va.; and New York.

"Rite Aid’s motto is ‘With us, it’s personal,’ and for 50 years, our associates have proudly delivered on this promise by meeting the health and wellness needs of our customers and communities," Rite Aid chairman, president and CEO John Standley said. "RA50 embodies our core values and is the perfect way for Rite Aid to thank the many communities across the nation that have helped us grow and to continue our mission of helping those we serve live healthier, happier lives."

The "acts of wellness" will include free screenings, wellness fairs, public education events and what the company called efforts to spread wellness-related messaging in "novel" ways. Events will address community needs, such as diabetes, heart disease, childhood obesity and cold and flu prevention. Participating organizations include Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Boys Hope Girls Hope, Boys & Girls Clubs and Marathon Kids, United Way chapters and local school districts, senior centers and other private and public organizations.

In Harrisburg, on Thursday, the company plans to provide restocking packages to nurses at the city’s 11 public schools. The packages contain personal-care items and healthy snacks that nurses provide to students in need.

Rite Aid’s history began with the opening of the first store in Scranton in 1962, a 1,400-sq.-ft. store then called the Thrif D Discount Center. Rite Aid’s first pharmacy opened in 1966, and the company was named Rite Aid Corp. in 1968. Since then, it has grown to more than 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia, employing more than 90,000 people, according to the company.


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CRN debunks omega-3 meta-analysis as ‘inherently inconclusive’

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — As part of a meta-analysis spanning 70,000 patients, a study published in the Sept. 12 issue of JAMA determined supplementation with omega-3 fish oils was not associated with a lower risk in heart disease. Lead researcher Evangelos Rizos of the University Hospital of Ioannina in Greece, concluded that omega-3 supplement recommendations may be overblown. "Our findings do not justify the use of omega-3 as a structured intervention in everyday clinical practice or guidelines supporting dietary omega-3 … administration," he wrote.

However, given the many shortcomings around meta-analyses of a nutritional supplement’s impact on disease states, "consumers should not discount the many proven benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in all stages of life," countered Duffy MacKay, VP scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

"This study does not change the current recommendations by authoritative bodies, such as the World Health Organization, American Heart Association and the U.S. National Academies of Science, who recommend adequate consumption of omega-3 fats," MacKay said.

The value in meta-analyses is found in combining comparable smaller clinical studies to assess whether similarities in the combined results exist. The problem is in finding studies that are actually comparable. "This meta-analysis combined studies that were not comparable in their design … which makes the results more skewed," MacKay noted. "Second, omega-3 fatty acids are vital nutrients and not drugs. Many of the studies included in the meta-analysis were conducted on diseased individuals already undergoing treatment with one or more drugs, such as statins, which may mask the less potent and more long-term effects of omega-3 fats."

Along these lines, the researchers apparently did not examine within each individual study included in the meta-analysis whether individuals in the placebo group were sufficient or insufficient in their dietary intake omega-3 fats, MacKay suggested. "In this regard, studies on drugs are far simpler than those of nutrients [where] the treatment group gets the drug and the placebo group does not," he said. "With nutrients, if participants in the control group already have a diet sufficient in that substance, then it will be that much harder to demonstrate any benefit among the treatment participants. It is impossible for five researchers to control the diet of almost 70,000 patients over several years (particularly as a retrospective meta-analysis), as omega-3 fats are widespread throughout a variety of foods."


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