The AAFP has added new content on dietary supplements and vitamins to its award-winning consumer website FamilyDoctor.org(familydoctor.org). The content, which launched on May 14, was a result of general underwriting support from the AAFP's newest Consumer Alliance Program partner -- Nature Made, a manufacturer of vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements that is owned by Pharmavite LLC.
According to a press release from the AAFP, "the Consumer Alliance Program is an opportunity for FamilyDoctor.org and AAFP to collaborate with consumer products companies that share the common goal of informing consumers, as well as medical professionals, about new advances in product science, nutrition and best practices for good health and a balanced lifestyle."
The use of vitamins and supplements is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Point-of-sales data from Nielsen Inc. indicate that U.S. consumers increased their use of these products by 31 percent from 2005 to 2009.
"We know that many of our patients already use vitamins and supplements," said AAFP EVP and CEO Douglas Henley, M.D., in the press release. "As family physicians, it is important that we counsel our patients on how to use these products properly."
He acknowledged that the best way to get vitamins and minerals the body needs is via a balanced diet. "But that is not always possible," said Henley. For individuals who choose to use vitamins and supplements, FPs should be able to tell them what vitamins and minerals they might not be getting enough of and recommend appropriate dosages to solve any deficiencies.
The new content includes patient handouts on a variety of topics, including
- dietary fats(familydoctor.org),
- dietary supplements(familydoctor.org),
- gluten-free diets(familydoctor.org),
- nutrient-rich diets(familydoctor.org),
- varicose veins(familydoctor.org), and
- vitamin D(familydoctor.org).
The AAFP noted that neither FamilyDoctor.org nor the Academy endorse any specific brands, products or services. The handouts were authored by AAFP staff members, practicing and teaching family physicians, and a registered dietitian. In addition, the content was reviewed by members of the AAFP Commission on Health of the Public and Science, and the Academy maintains complete editorial control over the content.
According to Jim Brooks, Ph.D., vice president of science and technology at Pharmavite, "the Consumer Alliance Program partnership with AAFP and Family Doctor.org aligns with Nature Made's long-standing commitment to deepening relationships with health care professionals by helping family physicians and patients understand how dietary supplements can play a role in achieving a healthy and balanced lifestyle."
The AAFP's Consumer Alliance Program was introduced last year to broaden the spectrum of non-dues revenue available to the association. The program was in response to a request from the AAFP Congress of Delegates that the Academy find sources of revenue other than pharmaceutical money to support programs and projects.
The AAFP noted that, consistent with the AAFP’s adoption last month of the new Council of Medical Specialty Societies Code for Interactions with Companies(www.cmss.org) and the Academy’s commitment to transparency in revealing the amount of industry funding the organization receives, the general underwriting received from Pharmavite LLC for this program totals $500,000.