January 16 , 2008 (Washington, D.C.) - In response to new findings published today by the The Lancet in its Series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition, the Natural Products Association, the oldest and largest trade association representing retailers and manufacturers of dietary supplements and other natural products industry, issued the following statement from vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D.:
"For all the problems for which there are still no solutions - undernnutrition is not one of them. From that perspective, this report is deeply disturbing. On the other hand, it is also very promising because the solutions are at hand - getting people the know-how and the nutrition they need when they need it. Supplementing inadequate diets with nutrients like folic acid and vitamin A, which are named in the report, is an easy and inexpensive solution to prevent some of the most serious effects of malnutrition, such as blindness and birth defects.
"Additionally, this should increase awareness of the issues here at home. For instance when we see the reemergence of childhood rickets in economically challenged populations in the United States, it should be a signal that undernutrition isn't just a problem for the un-industrialized nation, but a real threat to lives at home. Fortunately, we have a regulatory framework in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act that provides affordable access and information about basic nutrition that consumers can use to make healthier choices.
"Reports like this, that identify simple and easy ways to save millions of lives - and improve the quality of life for millions more - through an act as simple as taking a vitamin daily, are welcome. We will be an active participant in the effort to implement these recommendations."
The Natural Products Association, founded in 1936 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the largest and oldest non-profit U.S. trade organization dedicated to the natural products industry. Currently, the association represents nearly 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of dietary supplements, food and health and beauty aids. In terms of the total U.S. marketplace, the Natural Products Association represents well over half of all eligible manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers of dietary supplements and about two-thirds of health food retailers.