HEALTH

Survey: More people aware of probiotic benefits, but misperceptions remain

BY Michael Johnsen

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A new survey from Dannon released Wednesday revealed that Americans are more familiar than ever with probiotics.

The annual benchmarking survey, which interviewed 2,000 Americans ages 18 years and older, tracks awareness and perceptions of probiotics. It found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are familiar with the term “probiotics,” up from about half in 2009. Currently, 45% of Americans consider themselves very or somewhat knowledgeable on the subject, compared to 36% in 2009. In addition, the survey found that Americans are making health-conscious decisions about the foods they eat, with 6-in-10 saying they have made food purchases driven by health concerns.

Despite these positive findings, many myths and misconceptions surrounding probiotics and digestive health remain, Dannon noted. To help address Americans’ concerns and confusion, Dannon is partnering with registered dietician Keri Glassman, founder and president of Nutritious Life and author of The O2 Diet.

“Through our partnership with Keri Glassman, we hope to help elevate Americans’ understanding of the factors that affect digestive health, including what we eat,” said Miguel Freitas, director of health affairs for Dannon. “Probiotics have become increasingly popular in the past several years, but our annual survey shows that there are still some misunderstandings about what they are and how they work, which can lead to confusion for consumers.”

Here are some of the common myths and misperceptions uncovered by the survey:

  • Nearly one-quarter of survey respondents (22%) believed that all bacteria can make you sick;

  • One-third of respondents feel uncomfortable eating foods that contain bacteria; and

  • 30% of Americans are unaware that different strains of probiotics have different benefits.


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Clif Bar renews Honda LA Marathon sponsorship

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES — Clif Bar on Tuesday boosted its commitment to the Honda LA Marathon with a two-year sponsorship for 2012 and 2013. Clif Bar will provide Honda LA Marathon runners with an array of sports nutrition made with organic ingredients, including Clif Bar energy bars, Clif Shot energy gel and Clif Shot Bloks energy chews.

"We’re very excited to partner with the Honda LA Marathon for the next two years, expanding a relationship that’s been in place for much of the past decade," said Brooke Donberg, field marketing manager for Clif Bar. "This is one of the nation’s great marathons, and we hope to help race participants achieve their goals, both during training and on race day."

"Clif Bar is a perfect fit for the Honda LA Marathon," LA Marathon COO Nick Curl said. "We are particularly pleased to have such strong support from outstanding brands like Clif Bar, who understand the Marathon’s reach both in Los Angeles and across the country."


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FDA appeals preliminary injunction of new anti-smoking packaging graphics

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday appealed a recent District Court ruling that had placed a preliminary injunction on new, graphic anti-smoking messages that were to be placed on cigarette packaging as of September 2012. The five tobacco company plaintiffs argued that the mandated graphics violate the First Amendment.

The appeal moves the case to to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The FDA on Oct. 21 had filed a motion for summary judgement, asserting that the tobacco companies had no basis for their First Amendment violation claims.

"Congress does not infringe on protected First Amendment interests when it requires accurate disclosures in marketing," the agency stated in a memorandum supporting its motion. "Only by ignoring the findings of Congress, the courts, and countless public health officials, can plaintiffs discount the compelling governmental interest in communicating health risks to consumers and potential consumers of their product — including the underage and often undereducated persons who constitute the bulk of their new clientele. And only by ignoring the record before Congress, and the overwhelming international consensus of public health officials, can plaintiffs attempt to claim that a text-only disclosure of the same size as the current surgeon general warnings could communicate the health risks of smoking as effectively as the revised warnings prescribed by Congress."

The new anti-smoking graphics were required to cover the top half of the front and back of cigarette packs and 20% of printed advertisements and depicted the health consequences of smoking, including graphic images of diseased organs and dead bodies.


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