HEALTH

Reducing sugar, increasing fiber intake may curb Latino teens’ risk for Type 2 diabetes

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Reducing sugar intake by the equivalent of one can of soda per day and increasing fiber intake by the amount equivalent to one half cup of beans per day appears to improve risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes in Latino adolescents, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Almost 40% of Mexican American adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 were overweight or at risk for being overweight from 2003 to 2006, according to background information in the article.

“Latino children are more insulin resistant, and thus more likely to develop obesity-related chronic diseases than their white counterparts,” the authors wrote. “To date, only a few studies have examined the effects of a high-fiber, low-sugar diet on metabolic health in overweight youth, and to our knowledge, none have tested the effects of this type of intervention in a mixed-sex group of Latino youth.”

Emily Ventura of Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California and colleagues conducted a 16-week study to examine if reductions in added sugar intake or increases in fiber intake would affect risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes in 54 overweight Latino adolescents (average age 15.5). Participants were split into three groups: control, nutrition (receiving one nutrition class per week) or nutrition plus strength training (receiving one nutrition class per week along with strength training twice a week).

The results: 55% of participants decreased their sugar intake by an average of 47 grams per day (equal to the sugar in one can of soda) and 59% increased their fiber intake by an average of 5 grams per day (equal to the fiber in a half cup of beans) across all intervention groups, including controls. Participants who decreased their sugar intake had an average 33% decrease in insulin secretion and those who increased their fiber intake had an average 10% reduction in visceral adipose tissue volume.

“A reduction in visceral fat indicates a reduction in risk for Type 2 diabetes, considering that to a greater degree than total body fat, visceral fat [fat surrounding the internal organs] has been shown to be negatively associated with insulin sensitivity,” the authors noted. “Our results suggest that intensive interventions may not be necessary to achieve modifications in sugar and fiber intake. Accordingly, nutritional guidance given in the primary care or community setting may be sufficient to promote the suggested dietary changes in some individuals. … In addition, policies that promote reduced intake of added sugar and increased intake of fiber could be effective public health strategies for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes in this high-risk population.”

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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Icy Hot maker Chattem feels the economic slump

BY Michael Johnsen

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. The economy is taking its toll on consumer-packaged goods manufacturers, as inventory cut-backs and retail and increased promotional spending prove to be a drag on earnings.

“While total revenues in the first quarter were lower than expected, we remain confident about the strength of our brands and our prospects for the balance of fiscal 2009,” stated Zan Guerry, Chattem chairman and CEO, in announcing the company’s first quarter results for the period ended Feb. 28. “Retail sales of our existing brands as measured by A.C. Nielsen and mass merchandiser point-of-sale data, excluding the discontinued Icy Hot Heat Therapy and Icy Hot Pro Therapy, increased by approximately 5% and 6% for the four and thirteen weeks ending March 21, 2009, respectively.”

Chattem reported that total revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 were $116.1 million, representing a 3.9% decrease. The decrease in total revenues was due primarily to a $4.3 million reduction in international revenues, the company reported, but the balance of the decrease was related to lower sales of Icy Hot, Selsun, Bullfrog and Dexatrim, “caused in part by the timing of shipments, reduced retail inventory levels and two fewer shipping days in the first quarter of fiscal 2009,” the company stated.

The recall last year of the air-activated, self-heating Icy Hot Heat Therapy patch product was also a factor, Chattem noted.

Also adversely impacting Chattem total revenues was an increase in promotional programs that are recorded as a reduction of revenue rather than as advertising and promotion expense, the company added.

Advertising and promotion expense in the first quarter of fiscal 2009 decreased by $5.9 million to $28.6 million, or 24.6% as a percentage of total revenues as compared with 28.6% of total revenues in the prior year quarter. A&P expense was lower for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 due in part to an increase in promotion programs utilized by retailers that were recorded as a reduction of revenue rather than A&P expense and price efficiencies realized on certain media purchases.

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Illinois files TRO against state officials’ enforcement of 2005 regulation

BY Michael Johnsen

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. Less than one month after a district judge in New York ordered the Food and Drug Administration to allow women under the age of 18 to purchase Plan B without a prescription within 30 days, the Circuit Court in Springfield, Ill. on Friday issued a temporary restraining order against the Governor of Illinois and other state officials, ordering them not to enforce a 2005 administrative regulation that required all pharmacies to dispense Plan B and other forms of abortion-producing drugs.

The two issues are not necessarily linked — Plan B remains one of the only over-the-counter medicines approved with a dual Rx/OTC status for the same ingredient at the same strength for the same indication. Plan B is currently available without a prescription for women over the age of 18, but available only with a prescription for women under the age of 18.

The New York ruling changes that.

The Illinois court reverses a standing order from then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which mandated pharmacists to dispense Plan B without regard to any personal beliefs that Plan B is an abortion agent. While technically Plan B prevents conception when taken within 72 hours of sexual activity, as opposed to aborting a pregnancy, several religious groups consider Plan B an abortive agent.

Many pharmacy groups, including the American Pharmacists Association, support “refuse and refer” policies, whereby an objecting pharmacist can refuse to fill a prescription based upon their personal belief system, so long as they refer that prescription either to another pharmacist or to another pharmacy.

“This is yet another step on the road to full protection for the rights of conscience of all health care workers,” stated Francis Manion, senior counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice. “In ruling in favor of our clients, the court rejected the attempt of Illinois officials to trample on the rights of our clients and disregard existing laws passed by the legislature for the very purpose of protecting those rights. We will continue to press this issue until we have obtained full protection for the conscience rights of these professionals who should not have to choose between their deeply held religious beliefs and license revocation and other penalties.”

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