Sports federations and hundreds of individual athletes from around the world have embraced dietary supplements as they headed to Rio for this Summer’s Olympic games. At least 14 Olympic sports federations in the U.S. and around the world have recently signed sponsorship deals with sports nutrition companies, including USA Gymnastics and USA Track & Field, which recently signed with Natural Products Association (NPA) member Garden of Life.
“The top athletes in the world are using dietary supplements as safe and effective tools to support their training and nutritional needs,” said Dan Fabricant, PhD, CEO and executive director of NPA. “Elite athletes, just like millions of Americans, don’t always receive the necessary nutrients through a typical diet alone and their rigorous training schedule imposes unique demands on their bodies for these required building blocks. Whether your goal is the Olympic medal podium or simply getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals, taking natural products is an effective way to support a balanced and healthy lifestyle.”
Millions of Americans will watch athletes chase Olympic gold and glory over the next several weeks, yet it remains true that many of those who tune in on TV and travel to Rio to cheer them on are not maintaining a proper diet. A recent study published in eLife reported that Americans are stunting their growth at a faster rate than people in other countries. The authors concluded that poor diet was the main culprit. In turn, height can affect earning status throughout life.
The Natural Products Association is working to increase access to vitamins and minerals for more Americans by advocating for the inclusion of dietary supplements in programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The WIC program provides healthy food for low income families and children.
“It’s important for us to make sure that our next generation of Olympians receive the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy and active,” added Fabricant. “Not everyone will grow up to compete in the Olympics or grow to their maximum potential height; however, every child in our community and across the country deserves the same opportunity at a healthy and successful life, regardless of income, to grow and compete in life.”