—Leading Trade Associations Join Forces to Educate Congressional Staffers on the Benefits of Dietary Supplements—
Washington, D.C., June 11, 2008 – The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, in cooperation with the two leading trade associations representing the dietary supplement industry, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the Natural Products Association (NPA), last week hosted the first of a series of lunch briefings aimed at educating Congressional staffers on important issues within the dietary supplement industry.
Jay Hoffman, Ph.D., department chair and professor of Health and Exercise Science at the College of New Jersey, and Mark Bearden, strength and conditioning coach at George Washington University—who work daily with collegiate and professional athletes—addressed the more than 70 attendees, providing personal testimony on how to best counsel athletes about proper strength training, nutrition and use of dietary supplements. They also offered opinions on what dietary supplements realistically will and will not do.
“Athletes realize that supplements won’t take the place of other parts of their training regimen,” said Dr. Hoffman during the briefing. “But sports nutrition supplements can be advantageous in maximizing athletic performance.”
Bearden, who frequently gets questions from his student athletes on how supplements can benefit them, said, “Supplements work. They are effective and efficient, if you purchase from a company with a proven track record.”
More than 150 million Americans take dietary supplements annually and, according to data from Nutrition Business Journal, total sports supplement sales in the U.S. grew 8 percent to $2.5 billion in 2007.
“The physical stress from intense exercise depletes electrolytes and certain vitamins, which increases an athlete’s nutrient needs, making dietary supplements a vital component in an athlete’s training regimen,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO, CRN. “We want members of Congress and their staffers to know that dietary supplements are not steroids—nor are they substitutes or replacements for hard work and determination. But along with rigorous training and healthy diets, supplements are mainstream, safe and effective products that athletes should feel comfortable and confident taking.”
“It’s important that we educate individuals who come at this from all sides,” said David Seckman, executive director and CEO, NPA. “Congressional staffers are a key audience and play an important role, through policy and legislation, in determining availability and perception of dietary supplement products. We share with Congress the desire to help ensure our industry has consumers’ best interests at heart. These briefings will serve to ensure Congress has access to accurate information about dietary supplements.”
This event was the first of two briefings taking place this year and the briefings will continue to take place quarterly in subsequent years. Each briefing will focus on topics relevant to the dietary supplement industry and wellness arena and will feature speakers who will address the latest science and offer practical information. These briefings will also serve to position the Dietary Supplement Caucus as the experts when it comes to educating Congress on dietary supplement legislation and regulation.
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The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement industry ingredient suppliers and manufacturers. CRN members adhere to a strong code of ethics and manufacture dietary supplements to high quality standards under good manufacturing practices.
The Natural Products Association (NPA), founded in 1936, is the largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. The Natural Products Association represents more than 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids. As the leading voice of the natural products industry, the Natural Products Association's mission is to advocate for the rights of consumers to have access to products that will maintain and improve their health, and for the rights of retailers and suppliers to sell these products.