Congressional briefing positions supplements as preventative healthcare

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary supplement caucus, Health care, Medicine

Congressional briefing positions supplements as preventative healthcare
Dietary supplements are key to the prevention of a number of health conditions, and as such they would form a cost-effective approach to healthcare reform, Congress heard in a recent briefing.

The lunch meeting between Congressional staffers and an industry-sponsored education initiative was one of a string of meetings designed to alert Congress to the importance of supplements in health promotion and disease prevention.

The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus was set up in 2006 in cooperation with two leading trade groups – Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and Natural Products Association (NPA). Its latest meeting with Congressional staffers, which is the first of three to take place this year, included an address by a medical director of cardiovascular surgery, and a supporter of supplements, William Cooper, MD.

You don’t want surgery…

Dr Cooper, from Wellstar-Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Ga., and also assistant professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, said the focus in ensuring good health should be on preventative health as opposed to the current sick-care health system in the US.

“When you get to me, you really don’t want to buy what I’m selling,”​ he said, referring to heart surgery.

“Healthcare reform will happen in this country when you and I change our habits to be healthier. As a nation, we are consistently inconsistent. But there are simple things that all of us can do everyday to better our health—and that includes taking dietary supplements​,” he told an audience of 90.

Congressional support

Support for the health benefits of supplements also came from co-chairs of the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Rep. Jared Polis.

“Prevention is the most cost-effective initiative to contain costs in healthcare and dietary supplements are an important part of prevention,”​ said Rep. Polis.

Rep. Chaffetz added: “I know that these products provide so much benefit for consumers. I’m a product of it.”

More education

The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus aims to continue its briefings on a quarterly basis.

CRN and NPA said that briefings, which will feature speakers who will address the latest science and “offer practical information”,​ will focus on topics relevant to the dietary supplement industry and wellness arena.

“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,”​ said the trade groups.

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