- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2005

The manufacturer of Sweet ‘N Low sweeteners is starting a $100,000 campaign this month to get families more physically active during the school year.

Cumberland Packing Corp., the Brooklyn, N.Y., maker of the no-calorie sweetener, is the latest food company to set up an anti-obesity campaign, following similar efforts from companies such as Kraft Foods Inc. and Pepsico Inc.

The new campaign will be handled by Shape Up America, a Washington nonprofit group that promotes healthy weight loss and exercise.

Shape Up plans to send out 25,000 free posters to schools, health care providers and health care trade shows over the next three years. The glossy posters give 20 tips on how families can live a more active lifestyle.

The poster, which sports the Sweet ‘N Low label, suggests using a pedometer to count daily steps, limiting television, video game and computer use to less than two hours a day, and taking walks after meals.

Cumberland Packing, which has not been targeted in any obesity-related lawsuits, picked up the cost for making the posters and providing the shipping.

The company said it partnered with Shape Up to “help spread the word to young people that engaging in healthy lifestyle choices, including physical activity, is the best way to prevent obesity.”

The goal is to get parents and children more active, said Barbara Moore, Shape Up’s president and chief executive.

“We have found that childhood obesity is really influenced by the parents and what examples they are setting,” she said.

Caregivers lack coverage

Working adults who care for sick or disabled family members are more likely to lack health insurance coverage than their non-caregiver counterparts, according to a study released this week.

The report, released by the Commonwealth Fund, analyzed findings from a 2003 survey the New York health research foundation had done, which involved 4,052 adults ages 19 and older.

The new study found that half of the surveyed caregivers had trouble accessing health care compared with 35 percent of the non-caregiver adults. Additionally, 34 percent of caregiver adults were uninsured compared with 26 percent of other adults.

Gaithersburg firm wins contract

• Syntegra LLC, a Gaithersburg compliance management services company for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, last week won a contract from Parental Drug Association, a Bethesda biopharmaceutical trade group.

Syntegra, a subsidiary of Gaithersburg health care services company Health Pathways Inc., will run the group’s audit resource center. Terms were not disclosed.

FDA approves device

• Restorative Therapies Inc., a Baltimore medical device manufacturer, this week received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market its motorized cycle ergometer.

The device is used to restore motor functions to previously paralyzed muscles, the company said. A pediatric model, for children ages 4 to 12, also was approved by the FDA.

The “Health Care” column runs every Friday. Call Marguerite Higgins at 202/636-4892 or send e-mail to her at mhiggins@washingtontimes.com.

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