HEALTH

P&G, WomenHeart, actress Brenda Strong team up to help women lower cholesterol

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble and WomenHeart, a national organization dedicated to promoting women’s heart health, on Wednesday announced a partnership around Metamucil to create tools that encourage women to lower their cholesterol.

As part of that partnership, “Desperate Housewives” star and heart health advocate Brenda Strong is serving as a spokesowoman to promote the importance of cholesterol screening for women through a “Beautify Your Heart” program.

“With heart disease directly impacting the lives of my loved ones, my personal connection to heart disease led me to become a part of the ‘Beautify Your Heart’ program,” Strong stated. “Metamucil and WomenHeart have come together to provide women with tools and resources to help them lower their cholesterol and live a heart healthy lifestyle. I successfully lowered my cholesterol by taking Metamucil and want to encourage other women to try and do the same.” 

Women who want to be a part of the “Beautify Your Heart” program can visit www.BeautifyYourHeart.com and pledge to get a cholesterol screening. On the site, a free online locator to help find a cholesterol screening location is available. P&G and WomenHeart are also sponsoring a Beautify Your Heart sweepstakes featuring a heart makeover getaway. 

According to a survey sponsored by P&G and WomenHeart, 60% of women did not know their cholesterol number and 37% have not had their cholesterol checked in the past year. 

The survey also indicated many women are unaware that fiber can help beautify their hearts. “Fiber plays an important role in helping to lower cholesterol,” stated Pamela Marcovitz, director of the Ministrelli Women’s Heart Center in Royal Oak, Mich. “By increasing their fiber intake, exercising daily and eating a nutritious diet, most women can achieve a heart healthy lifestyle.”

According to the survey, only 11% of women say they are most likely to look for foods high in soluble fiber when looking at a food nutrition label.

P&G is also donating $100,000 to WomenHeart to help fund heart disease advocacy and education. 

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com/

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Bayer gives $100,000 to women’s heart health organization

BY Michael Johnsen

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Bayer HealthCare on Monday supported WomenHeart, an advocacy organization solely dedicated to promoting women’s heart health, with a $100,000 educational grant from the Bayer USA Foundation.

“The Bayer USA Foundation and Bayer Consumer Care are pleased to support WomenHeart and the organization’s mission to improve the health and quality of the lives of women living with or at risk of heart disease,” stated Bayer Aspirin brand director Rob Schumm. “Its activities align with Bayer’s own cardiovascular public health objectives of increasing the awareness of prevention and early detection, accurate diagnosis and proper treatment of heart disease.”

Through the grant, WomenHeart plans to develop an array of educational materials for all women — especially those living with heart disease — such as “Passport to a Healthy Heart” and “Living Well with Heart Disease” pamphlets. In addition, the grant will fund educational programs such as online seminars and support chat rooms.

“WomenHeart is thrilled to have Bayer’s support,” commented Lisa Tate, CEO of WomenHeart. “The Bayer brand is synonymous with quality and customer care and we are proud to partner with Bayer in our continuing effort to provide information that can help women live longer heart healthier lives.”

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Natural Products Association questions study on use of multivitamin’s by postmenopausal women

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A new study published Monday claiming that multivitamin use by postmenopausal women does little to improve their risk of mortality fails to take into account important dietary factors or accurately grasp how dietary supplements and health claims are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, the Natural Products Association charged Monday afternoon.

According to the study, which was published in the Feb. 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, postmenopausal women who take multivitamins have the same risk of dying from “most common cancers, cardiovascular disease or of any cause as women who do not take multivitamin supplements.”

“While cohort and observational studies like these can be important, they in no way constitute convincing or conclusive evidence,” stated Daniel Fabricant, VP scientific and regulatory affairs for NPA. “This study fails to tell the whole story about the positive effect that vitamins and minerals can have on health. It also does not take into account important factors such as nutrients gained through diet.” 

Fabricant said it is “unprincipled” that the authors arbitrarily lumped supplement types into generalized categories that do not represent nutrient intake accurately.  And when coupled with the fact that nutrient intake through the diet was not accounted for, Fabricant explained, the study has no means of establishing a baseline for which to draw any comparisons or eliminate bias.

Also troubling was the author’s apparent lack of understanding about how dietary supplements are regulated, NPA stated.

“The authors seem to be confused or unaware of how supplements are regulated and exactly what constitutes a health claim authorized by the FDA,” Fabricant said. “For example, they cite that there is only one supplement, folic acid, worthy of a public health recommendation by way of a health claim. However, even a cursory visit to the FDA’s Web site would have revealed that other nutrients and dietary ingredients, including the very calcium and vitamin D that they studied, also have FDA-authorized health claims.”

“Taken as whole, the research on dietary supplements in the prevention of chronic diseases, is strong and consistent,” Fabricant said. “To suggest that taking vitamins and minerals with a demonstrated health benefit is unnecessary sends the wrong public health message.”

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