HEALTH

Report shows consumer confidence in supplements on the rise

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Consumer confidence in dietary supplements has remained high this year, with 81 percent of American adults indicating that they are confident in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements compared to 80 percent last year, according to a new survey conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition released Wednesday.

Confidence levels in dietary supplements have been on a gradual rise, with 79 percent of American adults indicating a favorable level of confidence in dietary supplements in 2006. 

According to the results from the 2008 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, while confidence in dietary supplements remains steady, the on-line survey showed a slightly lower percentage of adults who label themselves as supplement users, with 64 percent classifying themselves as such.  In 2007 and 2006, 68 percent and 66 percent of Americans identified themselves as supplement users, respectively. 

The survey results also demonstrated a rise in the percentage of supplement consumers who take a variety of supplements regularly—48 percent in 2008, versus 42 percent in 2007 and 34 percent in 2006.

“We’re encouraged both that consumers who take supplements are demonstrating an interest in a wider variety of products and are more committed to a supplement regimen,” Judy Blatman, senior vice president of communications for CRN, said. “The multivitamin remains the cornerstone product for our industry with 82 percent of supplement users taking a multivitamin, but consumers are clearly looking at the benefits of other products too, like fish oil supplements and calcium.”

As many as 85 percent of those surveyed further indicated that they believe vitamin and mineral supplements are safe, the same figure that was reported in 2007; similarly, 72 percent agreed that herbal supplements are safe, with 70 percent reporting that belief last year. 

“The self-regulatory programs that this industry is engaging in, along with emerging science that supports the value of supplements, are vital to the industry’s reputation, and to consumer confidence,” stated Steve Mister, president and chief executive officer, CRN.  “We’re gratified to see that consumer confidence in our industry’s products continues to remain strong.”

The 2008 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements was conducted Aug. 20 through 25 by Ipsos Public Affairs and funded by CRN. The survey was conducted online and included a national sample of 2,013 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel. The survey has been conducted annually since 2000, with a migration from telephone to the internet beginning in 2005. 

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Dossia, Google team with Continua in growing Web healthcare information resources

BY Michael Johnsen

PORTLAND, Ore. Continua Health Alliance on Tuesday announced the addition of new members Dossia, a non-profit consortium focused on empowering consumers with personally-controlled health records, and Google, a search and information management companies that has created a healthcare online destination.

Since its launch in 2006, Continua has grown to include 170 of the world’s most successful technology companies, medical and fitness device manufacturers, and healthcare organizations working across three key markets: chronic disease management, independent aging and proactive health and wellness.

“Consumers are ready to adopt healthcare technology, such as personally-controlled health records and home health monitoring devices,” stated Colin Evans, Dossia president and chief executive officer. “Individuals with a more complete picture of their health have the opportunity to make smarter, more informed health decisions, to stay healthier and help lower out-of-control costs. Dossia is looking forward to working with Continua and its members to create open healthcare solutions.”

“Google ardently supports the concepts of interoperability, data portability, and open standards, so it was a natural fit for us to join the Continua Alliance,” added Jerry Lin, product manager for Google Health. “Our work with Continua will help us continue to develop integration with various home monitoring devices to ensure that data can be uploaded from these devices and securely stored in Google Health.”

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LifeScan launches Global Diabetes Handprint campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

MILPITAS, Calif. LifeScan, the maker of OneTouch Brand Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems for people with diabetes, on Monday launched its Global Diabetes Handprint (www.DiabetesHandprint.com) initiative, developed in collaboration with the Diabetes Hands Foundation.

The Global Diabetes Handprint is inviting people with diabetes to submit images of their hand, decorated with words and graphics depicting their personal expressions about living with diabetes. The images will in turn be showcased on the Diabetes Handprint Web site, encouraging visitors to share their own hand images.

“The idea behind the original ‘Word In Your Hand’ project was to inspire people with diabetes to connect with one another and not feel so isolated,” Manny Hernandez, president of the Diabetes Hands Foundation said. “Now, the Global Diabetes Handprint expands this concept by reaching more people than ever before, encouraging them in their daily struggle with diabetes while giving back to the diabetes community with company donations.”

For each image submitted between now and March 31, OneTouch will donate $5 up to a maximum of $250,000 for diabetes charities.

The funds generated by participation in the Global Diabetes Handprint will be donated to the Diabetes Education and Camping Association to support children’s diabetes camps and to Taking Control of Your Diabetes to support adult educational and motivational conferences for people with diabetes, those at risk and their loved ones.2 Participants will designate which organization—DECA or TCOYD—will receive the donation associated with their image submission.

As the Diabetes Handprint Project progresses, the images posted by site visitors will be combined to create an interactive, hand-shaped mosaic. Visitors to www.DiabetesHandPrint.com will be able to search for individual images or view them by moving their cursor across the mosaic. Additionally, there will be a featured image, which will be updated regularly. OneTouch will also select five individuals and their images by Dec. 31 to later feature in a national promotional campaign for the Global Diabetes Handprint project.

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