Dietary supplement use by U.S. adults is more prevalent than indicated by published data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), according to a new article in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American College of Nutrition (JACN). The review article is based on five consecutive years of online market research studies, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).
According to Annette Dickinson, PhD, corresponding author and a consultant for CRN, “This new review adds to the literature about usage patterns of dietary supplement users. The NHANES data is of course invaluable, but it only asks respondents about their dietary supplement usage over a 30-day period. The CRN/Ipsos data included regular, occasional and seasonal use throughout the year, which more realistically captures the full scope of dietary supplement utilization.”
The review article noted that overall supplement use as reported by respondents to the CRN surveys in 2007–2011 ranged from 64 to 69 percent. “Regular” use of dietary supplements ranged from 48 to 53 percent—levels equivalent to the overall prevalence reported in NHANES. The CRN surveys asked regular users whether they used a variety of products or only a multivitamin. Over the five-year period, the percentage of regular users who reported they used a variety of supplements increased, while the percentage that said they used only a multivitamin declined. By 2011, the last of the five years, twice as many regular users said they used a variety of products, compared to those who used only a multivitamin. The primary reasons given for using dietary supplements were “overall health and wellness” and “to fill nutrient gaps in the diet.”
“What the data tells us,” said Judy Blatman, senior vice president, communications, CRN, and one of the study’s co-authors, “is that dietary supplement usage is a mainstream practice, and, contrary to some assertions, supplement users do not use these products as a license to slack off on eating right or exercising, but instead are health conscious individuals trying to do all the right things to be healthy. They are more likely than nonusers to try to eat a balanced diet, visit their doctor regularly, get a good night’s sleep, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight.”
For more information, visit www.crnusa.org.
On April 16, the Vermont Senate voted 28-2 to approve legislation that would require foods produced using genetic engineering (GE) to be labeled in Vermont. Minor changes made by the Senate must still be approved by the state House, which previously approved the measure (99-42). Pending the governor’s signature, the law would take effect July 1, 2016.
“This is a major victory for the food movement. Vermont will be the first state to enact a law to protect consumers’ right to know what is in their food without requiring other states to do so prior to implementation,” said Rebecca Spector, who heads state labeling efforts at Center for Food Safety. “Nationwide GE labeling is not a question of if; it’s only a question of when. And the answer is soon,”
Unlike other state labeling laws, the Vermont labeling bill (H. 112) is the first bill, which will go into effect regardless of actions by other states. Previous GE labeling bills have required that a certain number of states enact similar legislation before they would take effect.
Once signed into law, Vermont’s mandatory labeling policy would likely set the stage for more states to introduce and adopt no strings attached labeling laws.
Sixty-four nations including China, South Africa, and all countries in the European Union currently require GE foods to be labeled. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) recently introduced federal legislation that would require nationwide labeling of GE products. That bill has 65 cosponsors.
“Vermont’s initiative has spurred agrichemical industry lobbyists to push legislation at the national level that would eliminate states’ rights to protect their consumers,” said Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs at Center for Food Safety. “We vow to fight them every step of the way and call out industry efforts to keep consumers in the dark.”
For more information, visit www.centerforfoodsafety.org.
Walmart has announced that it will carry Wild Oats organic food items. Originally introduced in 1987, Wild Oats will re-launch at Walmart beginning in April 2014 with a new, more affordable price point on quality products covering a broad variety of categories—from salsa and pasta sauce to quinoa and chicken broth. According to Walmart, customers will save 25 percent or more when comparing Wild Oats to national brand organic products.
“We know our customers are interested in purchasing organic products and, traditionally, those customers have had to pay more,” said Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of grocery at Walmart U.S. “We are changing that and creating a new price position for organic groceries that increases access. This is part of our ongoing effort to use our scale to deliver quality, affordable groceries to our customers.”
“By partnering with Walmart, Wild Oats is starting a movement that makes it easier than ever for customers to access affordable organic and natural products,” said Tom Casey, CEO of Wild Oats.
Walmart and Wild Oats will introduce nearly 100 products as part of the line, removing the price premium associated with organic groceries.
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