HEALTH

CDC report: Some ethnic groups need to boost vitamin D, iron supplementation

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Overall, the U.S. population has good levels of vitamin A and folate in the body, but some groups still need to increase their levels of vitamin D and iron, according to the "Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition," released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"These findings are a snapshot of our nation’s overall nutrition status," said Christopher Portier, director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. "Measurements of blood and urine levels of these nutrients are critical because they show us whether the sum of nutrient intakes from foods and vitamin supplements is too low, too high or sufficient."

The report found the highest rates of vitamin D deficiency in non-Hispanic African-Americans (31%) despite clinical data showing greater bone density and fewer fractures in this group. Further research is needed to explain why non-Hispanic African-Americans have better bone health yet have a higher rate of vitamin D deficiency. According to the report, the vitamin D deficiency rate for Mexican-Americans was 12%, while for non-Hispanic whites, it was 3%.
 
Findings were not as encouraging with regard to the iodine status in young women (ages 20 to 39 years). This age group had iodine levels that were just above iodine insufficiency. The young women also had the lowest iodine levels among any age group of women. Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormones that regulate human growth and development. Iodine deficiency disorders include mental retardation, hypothyroidism, goiter, cretinism and varying degrees of other growth and developmental abnormalities. Iodine is especially important in women during childbearing years to ensure the best possible brain development of the fetus during pregnancy.

Using a new marker of iron status, the report indicated higher rates of iron deficiency in Mexican-American children ages 1 to 5 years (11%) and in non-Hispanic African-Americans (16%) and Mexican-American women (13%) of childbearing age (ages 12 to 49 years) when compared with other race/ethnic groups. The new iron marker measurements will help clinicians better interpret iron status in individuals, especially in persons with chronic disease that includes inflammation, such as certain cancers.
 
"Research shows that good nutrition can help lower people’s risk for many chronic diseases. For most nutrients, the low deficiency rates, less than 1% to 10%, are encouraging, but higher deficiency rates in certain age and race/ethnic groups are a concern and need additional attention," said Christine Pfeiffer, lead researcher in the Division of Laboratory Sciences in CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health.

CDC’s "Second Nutrition Report" established blood and urine reference levels for 58 biochemical indicators; more than twice as many indicators as its first report, published in 2008. The report included first-time data for a new indicator of iron deficiency and for 24 healthy and unhealthy fatty acids.

The report provided first-time data on blood levels of fatty acids in the U.S. population, including both heart healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as saturated fatty acids that increase risk of heart disease. These first time measurements provide a baseline that will allow CDC to track fatty acid levels over time, which will evaluate our nation’s progress toward heart healthy diets.

For the full nutrition report, click here.


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Prestige Brands completes remainder of GSK OTC brands acquisition

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVINGTON, N.Y. — Prestige Brands Holdings on Monday announced that it has completed the purchase of the two remaining brands of the 17 brands it agreed to acquire from GlaxoSmithKline; the purchase of Debrox ear wax remover and Gly-Oxide oral rinse completes the transaction.

For all 17 brands, Prestige paid a total of $660 million in cash plus a customary post-closing inventory adjustment under the original terms of the agreements.

The company’s core brands now include Chloraseptic sore throat treatments, Clear Eyes eye care products, Compound W wart removers, The Doctor’s NightGuard dental protector, the Little Remedies and PediaCare lines of pediatric over-the-counter products, Efferdent denture care products, Luden’s throat drops, Dramamine motion sickness treatment, BC & Goody’s headache powders, Fiber Choice and Beano digestive aids, Debrox ear wax remover, Gly-Oxide oral rinse and Comet household cleaners.


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Health Mart expands into private-label allergy offerings for its independent base

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — With allergy season in full swing, Health Mart, a network of more than 2,900 independently owned pharmacies, on Monday announced the expansion of its Health Mart private-label line of over-the-counter healthcare products with the introduction of upper respiratory products.

“Pharmacists play a key role in helping consumers make appropriate purchase decisions about products for respiratory issues associated with allergies, colds and the flu," stated Matt Lowe, VP retail marketing for McKesson, which owns Health Mart. "Even with OTC products, consumers regularly seek advice from their pharmacist on drug interactions and to discuss symptoms, with nearly [one-third] of patients asking for a specific product recommendation,” he said. “As the largest OTC category, it was very important to offer high-quality upper respiratory products that continue to reinforce the value and personalized care our customers have come to expect from their trusted Health Mart pharmacist.”

Designed to help community pharmacies build closer consumer relationships and raise awareness of the pharmacist’s role as a community healthcare provider, the Health Mart private label was launched in November 2011 with diabetes care products. Additional healthcare categories will continue to be added throughout 2012.
 
According to the Nielsen, upper respiratory products represent a $4 billion category and have grown more than 3% over the past year. With allergy products showing strong growth, upper respiratory products represent more than 15% of total sales in the top 20 health and beauty product categories.


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