HEALTH

Report: Americans opting for balanced eating over dieting

BY Michael Johnsen

ROSEMONT, Ill. According to an NPD Group report issued Monday, the latest fad in dieting may be not to diet at all, but to eat a more healthy diet in the first place.

NPD reported that the percentage of adults on a diet has decreased by 10 percentage points since 1990, while the percentage of Americans eating healthier has increased.

“While dieting for both women and men remain huge markets, they are not growing markets,” stated Harry Balzer, vice president, The NPD Group, and author of Eating Patterns in America. “The desire to lose weight really was a 90’s trend. Today consumers appear to be making healthier food choices.”

NPD’s National Eating Trends data finds that at least once in a two-week period, more than 70 percent of Americans are consuming reduced fat foods, and over half of them are eating reduced calorie, whole grain or fortified foods. In addition to these foods, other “better for you” foods consumed include diet, light, reduced cholesterol, reduced sodium, caffeine free, sugar free, fortified, organic, and low carb varieties. The average American, according to National Eating Trends, has at least two “better for you” products a day.

More consumers are looking to add whole grains, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and probiotics, according to the NPD Dieting Monitor, which examines top-of-mind dieting and nutrition-related issues facing consumers. Awareness of these nutritional food elements continues to grow. For example, in 2005, 36 percent of consumers surveyed said they were trying to get more omega-3 fatty acids in their diets, and the most recent NPD Dieting Monitor shows that number increasing to 46 percent.

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New York pharmacies discovered with expired OTC items

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo held a conference yesterday to announce that his staff had found loads of expired over-the-counter medications, food items, and baby formula at more than 250 stores across the state, including CVS and Rite Aid, which were regarded as the two worst offenders, according to The New York Times.

Between the two chains, Cuomo’s staff bought more than 600 expired items, many of which were intended for children. Investigators visited 250 Rite Aid stores and 250 CVS stores, and found at least one expired item at 112 Rite Aids and 142 CVS stores in 41 counties, or 57 percent of the CVS stores and 45 percent of the Rite Aid stores. Most of the medications had expired in 2007 and 2008.

The drugstore chains did not contest Cuomo’s findings. They said that keeping expired products on their shelves was a violation of company policy and that they would cooperate with Cuomo’s office to fix the problem. “We value the trust our customers have placed in us to sell them products that are safe and effective, and the findings of New York’s attorney general are unacceptable to us,” Michael DeAngelis, a spokesman for CVS, said in a written statement.

Ashley Flower, a spokeswoman for Rite Aid, said the company was checking the expiration dates of products in every store in New York and across the country. “We take the allegations in the New York attorney general’s letter very seriously,” she said.

Cuomo’s letter to CVS said the company had violated the terms of a 2003 settlement with the state attorney general’s office, in which it agreed to refrain from selling expired over-the-counter medications and to put safeguards in place.

“This persistent and flagrant defiance of the settlement calls into question CVS’ desire to alter its conduct,” Michael Berlin, a deputy attorney general, wrote to the company in the latest letter threatening litigation.

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CRN, NPA meet with Congressional committee to discuss sports nutrition

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Two trade associations last week met with leaders on the Hill to discuss the value of sports nutrition.

The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, in cooperation with the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association, hosted the first of a series of lunch briefings aimed at educating Congressional staffers on issues of import within the dietary supplement industry.

“The physical stress from intense exercise depletes electrolytes and certain vitamins, which increases an athlete’s nutrient needs, making dietary supplements a vital component in an athlete’s training regimen,” stated Steve Mister, president and chief executive officer, CRN. “We want members of Congress and their staffers to know that dietary supplements are not steroids—nor are they substitutes or replacements for hard work and determination. But along with rigorous training and healthy diets, supplements are mainstream, safe and effective products that athletes should feel comfortable and confident taking.”

 “It’s important that we educate individuals who come at this from all sides,” said David Seckman, executive director and chief executive officer, NPA. “Congressional staffers are a key audience and play an important role, through policy and legislation, in determining availability and perception of dietary supplement products. We share with Congress the desire to help ensure our industry has consumers’ best interests at heart. These briefings will serve to ensure Congress has access to accurate information about dietary supplements.”

Jay Hoffman, department chair and professor of Health and Exercise Science at the College of New Jersey, and Mark Bearden, strength and conditioning coach at George Washington University, addressed the more than 70 attendees, providing insight on how to best counsel athletes about proper strength training, nutrition and use of dietary supplements. They also offered opinions on what dietary supplements realistically will and will not do.

“Athletes realize that supplements won’t take the place of other parts of their training regimen,” Hoffman said during the briefing. “But sports nutrition supplements can be advantageous in maximizing athletic performance.”

According to data from Nutrition Business Journal, total sports supplement sales in the U.S. grew 8 percent to $2.5 billion in 2007.

This event was the first of two briefings taking place this year and the briefings will continue to take place quarterly in subsequent years, the associations announced. Each briefing will focus on topics relevant to the dietary supplement industry and wellness arena and will feature speakers who will address the latest science and offer practical information.

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