HEALTH

Study: Higher doses of Vitamin D reduce bone fractures in seniors

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO A meta-analysis published Monday in the “Archives of Internal Medicine” determined that higher doses of vitamin D supplementation, of more than 400 International Units daily, could reduce the number of fractures in seniors by at least 20%.

The meta-analysis was performed on the efficacy of oral supplemental vitamin D in preventing nonvertebral and hip fractures among older individuals, and included 12 double-blind randomized controlled trials for nonvertebral fractures and 8 RCTs for hip fractures comparing oral vitamin D, with or without calcium, with calcium or placebo.

The higher dose reduced nonvertebral fractures in community-dwelling individuals by 29% and institutionalized older individuals by 15%, and its effect was independent of additional calcium supplementation.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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GNC reports 2008 financial results

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH General Nutrition Centers on Thursday reported revenue of $1.7 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, an increase of 6.7%. Same-store sales improved 2.7% in domestic company-owned stores, the specialty retailer reported.

EBITDA totaled $212.2 million for 2008, up 69.1%.

Revenue across GNC’s manufacturing and wholesale increased 10.8% for the year to $179.4 million.

“The growth in this segment was the result of increased third party sales and additional license fee revenue for Rite Aid’s store-within-a-store openings,” said GNC CFO Michael Nuzzo.

Rite Aid continued to expand its GNC store-within-a-store concept, adding a net 30 stores this quarter, Nuzzo said, bringing the total number of GNC/Rite Aid locations to 1,712, up from 1,358 stores last year.

Rite Aid is planning to open another 200 GNC storefronts this year. “We’ve been in constant touch with them on things as we work through the year, and we’re trying to partner with them, to help them in any way we can,” Joseph Fortunato, GNC CEO, told analysts Thursday. “We’re in discussions on some things right now, and I’m not free to really disclose them. But I think they are fairly firm in that they’re going to try to hold their commitments with us,” he said, responding to an analyst’s question on whether or not Rite Aid had shut down its GNC expansion plans.

At year end, operated 2,774 company-owned stores in the United States and Canada and had 954 domestic franchise locations, in addition to 1,712 Rite-Aid locations and 1,190 international franchise locations for a total of 6,630 locations globally.

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GNC doesn’t waste opportunity with ”Amazing Race” star Keoghan

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH GNC on Monday announced its sponsorship of Phil Keoghan’s new Ride Across America, which kicks off in Los Angeles March 28 and ends in New York May 9.

“This is a great time to talk up the value of biking … it’s not only good for your wallet but it also does wonders for your waistline as well,” Keoghan said. “GNC, with its Live Well approach to living a healthy lifestyle, is a great partner as we take that message across America. The Live Well mandate has perfect synergy with my personal philosophy called NOW (No Opportunity Wasted), which is all about living life to the fullest. Together with GNC, we want to share our message with as many people as possible during my 3,600-mile journey while at the same time raising awareness for the National MS Society, a fantastic charity I have actively supported for years.”

As part of the sponsorship, GNC’s on-site research and development team helped develop Keoghan’s nutritional plan and will be providing The Amazing Race star with nutritional supplements for his daily dietary needs, including: GNC Maximum Greens Complete, Pro Performance AMP Amplified Whey Protein, Pro Performance AMP Amplified Maxertion N.O., Cytosport CytoMax Pre-Formance, Cytosport CytoMax Sport Drink, Mega Men Sport Vitapak, Powerbar Gels and NOW One Square Meal.

“All of us at GNC and the National MS Society are extremely impressed with [Keoghan’s] commitment and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle and to his fundraising efforts for the National MS Society,” stated Tom Dowd, EVP stores, operations and development for GNC.  “Having been fans of the The Amazing Race and [Keoghan] from the first season, we recognized what a great opportunity this was to partner with [Keoghan] and raise money and awareness for Bike MS and the National MS Society.

“We’re also very excited to have the opportunity to be the sole retailer of [Keoghan’s] fantastic tasting nutritional diet and sports bar, NOW One Square Meal, a total meal replacement that is guaranteed to be a top seller at our GNC stores,” Dowd said.

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