CRN, NPA meet with Congressional committee to discuss sports nutrition


WASHINGTON Two trade associations last week met with leaders on the Hill to discuss the value of sports nutrition.

The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, in cooperation with the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association, hosted the first of a series of lunch briefings aimed at educating Congressional staffers on issues of import within the dietary supplement industry.

“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,” stated Steve Mister, president and chief executive officer, 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 chief executive officer, 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.”

Jay Hoffman, 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, addressed the more than 70 attendees, providing insight 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,” Hoffman said during the briefing. “But sports nutrition supplements can be advantageous in maximizing athletic performance.”

According to data from Nutrition Business Journal, total sports supplement sales in the U.S. grew 8 percent to $2.5 billion in 2007.

This event was the first of two briefings taking place this year and the briefings will continue to take place quarterly in subsequent years, the associations announced. 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.

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