HEALTH

Survey concludes supplement users will continue with regular routine despite economy

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Consumers of dietary supplements don’t intend to cut back on their supplement regimen, a new survey conducted by Ipsos-Public Affiairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition that was released last week found.

According to the survey, 51 percent of supplement users indicated that the economy will likely not change their supplement-purchasing habits. Survey results also showed that of the 51 percent who don’t plan on cutting back their supplement routine, 13 percent of dietary supplement consumers went further to say that supplements are “an essential part of my wellness regimen, and I cannot do without them.”

“It’s encouraging to see that, despite the current economic climate, such a large percentage of adults are continuing to invest in their health by including dietary supplements as a part of their wellness regimen,” stated Judy Blatman, senior vice president, communications, CRN.  “Engaging in preventative health measures today, such as incorporating supplements into a healthy lifestyle, may help avoid potential healthcare costs down the road.”

Although survey results showed that most supplement consumers don’t plan on cutting back on their supplement routine regardless of economic anxieties, some may alter their purchasing habits.  In fact, nearly a third of supplement users surveyed (30 percent) indicated that, while they will continue to purchase dietary supplements, price will become a more important factor in the purchasing process.  Further, an additional 13 percent responded that, given the potential downturn in the economy, they will continue to purchase, but will likely purchase less in the future. 

And while the overwhelming majority of supplement users plan to continue with their supplement regimen in one way or another, a small portion of the survey respondents said they might suspend their supplement usage altogether should the need arise.  Survey results showed that six percent of supplement users consider dietary supplements a luxury and believe they can do without them during economic hardships. 

“Times are tough for many Americans right now, and countless families are faced with the difficult position of cutting back on items that are not of absolute necessity when trying to balance higher costs in gasoline, groceries and other daily necessities,” Blatman said. “We were pleased to see that an overwhelming majority of supplement users recognize the value of taking vitamins, minerals and other supplements, and are making a concerted effort to invest in their health long term.”   

The 2008 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, formerly known as the CRN Consumer Confidence Survey, was conducted Aug. 20-25 online and included a national sample of 2,013 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. on-line panel. The survey has been conducted annually since 2000.

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HEALTH

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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Nicotine gum helps pregnant women decrease amount of smoking, research says

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Although nicotine gum does not necessarily increase quit rates among pregnant women, the non-prescription smoking cessation product does help reduce the amount of smoking to the point that use of nicotine gum increased birth weight and gestational age, two key parameters in predicting neonatal wellbeing, new research published last week in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology has found.

The study tracked pregnant women who smoked daily and received individualized behavioral counseling and random assignment to a 6-week treatment with 2-mg nicotine gum or placebo followed by a 6-week taper period. Women who did not quit smoking were instructed to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked by substituting with gum.

Using a completer analysis, nicotine gum significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked per day and cotinine concentration. Birth weights were significantly greater with nicotine gum compared with placebo. Gestational age was also greater with nicotine-replacement therapy than with placebo, the research found.

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