HEALTH

‘Real Sports’ takes a look at sports nutrition supplements

BY Michael Johnsen

 

 

 
NEW YORK — HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" on Tuesday aired an expose criticizing the availability of adulterated sports nutrition supplements to the nation's military in a segement titled "In Harm's Way."
 
According to the synopsis of the episode, "Real Sports" reported that 70% of U.S. troops take some sort of supplement, "many of them workout supplements marketed with the military in mind." The problem explored by "Real Sports" correspondent Soledad O'Brien is the availability of what the segment defines as under-regulated workout supplements that are causing serious injuries to the liver, heart issues and even death. 
 
In response to the episode, the Council of Responsible Nutrition on Wednesday suggested that the segment wasn't fully balanced. 
 
"We share the concerns raised by HBO’s segment last night about stimulant ingredients like DMAA, and CRN has expressed support for FDA’s position that DMAA and similar ingredients are illegal because they lack adequate evidence of safety and present unreasonable health risks," said Steve Mister, SCRN president and CEO. "On the other hand, we are disappointed that HBO ignored our requests to provide perspective from the mainstream, responsible dietary supplement industry as we would have confirmed our position that the products the segment focused on are being illegally marketed as dietary supplements in violation of the requirements for new ingredients. Further, we would have provided accurate information and a more balanced perspective of the numerous provisions in the law, added with the passage of DSHEA and beyond, that have given FDA more authority than it previously had to remove unsafe products from the market and ample tools to enforce the law."
 
In the segment correspondent O'Brien compared the Food and Drug Administration's pursuit of makers of tainted supplements to a game of whack a mole, where as soon as the agency is able to ban one ingredient, another suspect ingredient becomes available in its place. "To that end, we are concerned that FDA has not always acted as swiftly as appropriate to remove from the market these kinds of questionable products, and we continue to urge for further resources, financial and otherwise, for FDA to more fully enforce the law," Mister said. "Critics of dietary supplement regulation tend to focus on pre-market approval as the only option, ignoring the fact that pre-market approval is not a full-proof method to safety, nor is it a viable option for the vast majority of products in our industry that don’t receive the same patent protection and financial incentives as pharmaceutical products. Our industry is open to dialoguing with those who are serious — and realistic — about finding ways to avoid the kinds of tragedies shown in this segment in the future.”
 

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FitClick launches Talk-to-Track Diet App

BY Michael Johnsen

VIENNA, Va. – FitClick recently introduced its FitClick Talk-to-Track Diet App, available for both the Android and iOS platforms. “The new FitClick Talk-to-Track calorie counting app is our patent-pending natural language diet tracker that allows you to count calories by simply talking into your phone,” the company explained. "With our innovative calorie tracker app, you just say the names of the foods you ate and you're done.”
 
The unique food tracker app is a learning system. As users track their foods, the app learns what they like to eat and uses that data to pull the proper foods from the database. The Talk-to-Track app also serves as a carb counter app, along with fat, protein and fiber.
 
The app is expected to especially appeal to millennials, noted James Mrowka, president FitClick. “As digital natives, millennials value access to real-time data, and mobile calorie-counter apps provide an instant source of information,” he suggested. “Millennials lead busy lives and place particular value on convenience and expedience. Tracking health and nutrition on the handheld device they carry with them at all times affords both.”
 
 
 
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Majority of wellness programs don’t include smoking cessation incentives

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS — A recent HealthMine survey of 750 wellness program participants indicated that only 37% say smoking cessation programs are included in their plan. Even in plans that do include quit smoking programs, 87% said they need an incentive, or they would be unlikely to complete the program. As new findings show that combining a penalty with a reward can double success rates for smoking cessation, HealthMine found that only 32% of wellness program enrollees say their program includes any incentives for smoking cessation.
 
Plan members support both incentives and disincentives for smoking cessation: 63% of consumers think colleagues that smoke tobacco products should pay more for health insurance, while 48% of consumers think that e-cigarette smokers should be penalized, HealthMine uncovered in its January Health Plan Member Survey.
 
"Health plan sponsors could do a whole lot more to help people quit smoking than they do now," said Bryce Williams, president and CEO of HealthMine. "Wellness incentives and disincentives — when personalized and matched carefully to recommended health actions — can play a powerful role in helping members address smoking, the largest cause of preventable death in the U.S."
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