HEALTH

Probiotics greatly benefit digestive health of children, seniors, research says

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON New research on the benefits of probiotics in children and seniors was presented at The American College of Nutrition Annual Meeting in a symposium Monday. Scientific experts in the fields of pediatrics, aging, and nutrition discussed the potential uses for probiotics in children as well as the elderly, and for health conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

“Infants don’t have all of their gut bacteria at birth as they acquire it up until about 2 years of age,” stated Allan Walker, professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, as part of a panel of speakers in summarizing the role of probiotics in pediatrics.

Mary Ellen Sanders, a consultant specializing in probiotics, provided an overview of the studies showing the benefits of probiotics and health. She said, “compelling new studies are showing how probiotics can help keep healthy people healthy. One study showed a decreased incidence of common infectious diseases among kids in day care.” She stressed the fact that each individual strain of probiotic can act differently, so a probiotic that helps with digestion may be different from one that supports the immune system.

Stefano Guandalini, professor of Pediatrics and director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center shared the newest research on probiotics and inflammatory bowel disease. “Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition that affects approximately 1 million adults and 150,000 children in the U.S. Emerging studies are showing promise in children and will continue to help determine how we can be using probiotics practically for such serious conditions.”

About 70 percent of our body’s immune system is located in the digestive tract and as we age, our immune function weakens, added Simin Meydani, associate director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “The idea is that taking in certain probiotics on a regular basis might positively change the bacterial populations in the gut in older people,” she said.

Under normal circumstances in our gastrointestinal systems, there are many more “friendly” bacteria than “bad” bacteria. If this balance shifts, however, the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract may be affected. Research suggests that adding probiotics to the diet can help optimize the functioning of the intestinal lining, as well as, the immune system, researchers noted.

A Webcast of the symposium will be made available at http://nutrition.med.harvard.edu/, www.usprobiotics.org, and www.americancollegeofnutrition.org.

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Data shows use of Alli could also impact household members’ habits

BY Jenna Duncan

PHOENIX and PITTSBURGH New data released during proceedings at this year’s Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society said that people taking FDA-approved weight-loss pill Alli also tend to make healthier grocery shopping decisions, a trend that is positively influencing families.

A 26-week study reviewed the shopping habits of 15,156 households in which one or more members were taking Alli. The study showed that shoppers in these households were also purchasing items such as cereals, diet control bars, multi-vitamins and yogurt, among other “healthy” options.

Study co-author, Rebecca Reeves, of Baylor College of Medicine, said, “What is so unique and exciting about the data in this abstract is the evidence that people taking Alli made changes in their purchase patterns toward healthier foods. These data show that households purchasing Alli more than once increased their buying of healthier products compared to the previous year.”

The National Institutes of Health have reported that about 65 percent of U.S. adults are obese or overweight. Persons dealing with too much weight are more likely to face health problems such as heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, the National Institutes said.

Taking Alli, combined with a low-calorie, encourages healthy, modest weight-loss, maker GlaxoSmithKline has said.

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Aisle7 launches new programs to manage store planning

BY Michael Johnsen

PORTLAND, Ore. Aisle7 (formerly Healthnotes), will unveil its new flagship product: Aisle7 IN-STORE 2009 on Tuesday, the company announced.

Featuring interactive shopping guides, easy-to-use shopping tools and a new suite of applications, retailers are able to engage shoppers on several top-of-mind issues for the consumer, notably wellness, sustainability and saving money.

Aisle7 IN-STORE 2009 features a new campaign-driven architecture allowing retailers to create unique wellness campaigns that match their own marketing calendars and allow them to deliver relevant shopping ideas and targeted messages in high-margin departments throughout the store. 

“Shopper marketing is the fastest growing segment of retailers’ marketing budgets and grocers are in need of flexible, customizable, storewide programs that can amplify their marketing messages and brand,” stated Jeffrey Beyer, Aisle7 chief executive officer. “Our solutions help retailers capitalize on this growing trend by inspiring new ideas and driving incremental sales.”

To help retail marketers engage shoppers, align marketing initiatives and leverage existing investments, Aisle7 IN-STORE 2009 provides a new suite of applications and customization options that extend the base program, including:

• Aisle7 Brand allows retailers to customize programming and directly integrate marketing initiatives for additional leverage and consistency;

• Aisle7 Promote delivers a contextual marketing solution to promote private label, store programs and promotions alongside engaging, relevant content;

• Aisle7 Scan provides shoppers relevant product information, product tips and cross-sell suggestions with a simple bar code scan;

• Aisle7 Locate allows shoppers to locate products throughout the store through an integrated planogram;

• Aisle7 Target integrates with retailers’ existing loyalty programs to present shoppers with targeted shopping ideas, offers and wellness tips.

“In today’s competitive environment, retailers need to make it easy to connect shoppers with their products,” added Robert Johnson, president of TreoSystems. “We are excited to be working with Aisle7 to offer retailers integrated item locator solutions to help shoppers find the products they’re looking for, along with relevant promotions and cross-sell recommendations that can drive additional sales.”

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