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Vitamin Distribution, Research Funding Planned Through HHS Appropriations

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) wants to include language in the HHS appropriations bill that would provide $6 mil. to help expand a national program that donates multivitamins to children at risk for malnutrition and funds research on the benefits of dietary supplements in children.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) wants to include language in the HHS appropriations bill that would provide $6 mil. to help expand a national program that donates multivitamins to children at risk for malnutrition and funds research on the benefits of dietary supplements in children.

The program, called Vitamin Relief USA-Children First, was started last year by The Healthy Foundation and currently provides chewable vitamins to more than 7,200 children from low-income families in 33 states.

The provision supported by Pallone would allocate $1 mil. per year for three years to supply an additional 30,000 children with vitamins.

Another $1 mil. for each of three years would fund pilot studies to substantiate previous research indicating supplements can provide children with scholastic and behavioral benefits.

The HHS appropriations bill was marked up by the House Labor/HHS Appropriations subcommittee on Oct. 3. Full committee markup is scheduled for Oct. 9.

In its current form, the measure would provide the National Institutes of Health with $22.56 bil. for FY 2002, a 12.3% increase over this year's budget. Further center breakdowns should be disclosed during the full committee markup.

Pallone believes his language may be added to the legislation when it goes to conference. If the funding is not included in the House version, the congressman is considering introducing the provision as an amendment or separate legislation.

There also is speculation that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) will add similar language to the Senate appropriations bill; Harkin chairs the Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations subcommittee.

Based in California, The Healthy Foundation was established as a non-profit in 1999 to provide vitamins to individuals who are poverty-stricken, pregnant, chronically ill or elderly. To date, the foundation has received $250,000 in vitamin donations from industry.

Sponsors of the initiative include Tishcon, Longevity Sciences, Natural Factors, Rx Vitamins, Nutrition Formulators and Elan International.

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