Ephedra Education Council (EEC) Statement on the New CDC Report on Obesity Among U.S. Adults

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ephedra Education Council (EEC) today commented on a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (October 8, 2002), showing that as many as one-third of the U.S. population now suffers from obesity. Obesity is one of our nation's foremost health problems, and is directly linked to numerous other diseases, including heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Wes Siegner, general counsel to the Ephedra Education Council, issued the following statement:

"The new study from the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that obesity is increasing -- and concludes that the potential health benefits from reducing obesity are considerable. Ephedra dietary supplements when used as directed can be very important in weight loss.

"The herbal supplement Ephedra is one of the few options for consumers who want to manage their weight successfully but cannot do so with diet and exercise alone. The Ephedra Education Council's mission is to provide factual information about dietary supplements containing Ephedra and promote the safe and responsible marketing of dietary supplements. The council website (http://www.ephedrafacts.com) includes clinical studies and other information supporting the safety and weight loss benefits of these products.

"Ephedra has a long history of safe, non-prescription use. However, reports of adverse events associated with the use of Ephedra have raised concerns in the United States. Regulatory agencies and some members of Congress are now considering restricting the use of these products. The adverse event reports are anecdotal, not scientific. To date, there have been over 50 scientific studies on Ephedra or ephedrine use without reports of serious adverse events.

"Scientific studies support the safety of Ephedra when used as directed and also show these products have important health benefits, especially given the health risks associated with obesity. The regulation of Ephedra products should be based on controlled clinical trials of these products. A recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrated the safety and benefits of these products for overweight but otherwise healthy adults.

"Although some critics have asserted that dietary supplements such as Ephedra are unregulated, that is not the case. Extensive requirements regulating product quality and product claims are in effect, and industry supports vigorous enforcement of these requirements.

"Consumers should be able to continue to use Ephedra dietary supplements to help them maintain and manage their weight. Today's CDC report in the Journal of the American Medical Association is one more wake-up call about the increasing prevalence of obesity and, by implication, its serious health effects, for all Americans."

The Ephedra Education Council (EEC) is supported primarily by members of the Ephedra Committee of the American Herbal Products Association, a recognized leader in promoting the safe and responsible marketing of dietary supplements. The Council provides factual information to the media and public about dietary supplements containing Ephedra. For more information, log on to http://www.EphedraFacts.com .

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