TUMS® and the March of Dimes Team Up to Get Mothers and Babies Off to a Healthy Start

March of Dimes
Wednesday, 4 June 2003

#1 Doctor-recommended Calcium Supplement Spearheads Initiative to Educate Women of Childbearing Age on the Health Benefits of Calcium

TUMS®, the #1 doctor recommended calcium supplement, today announced its partnership with the March of Dimes to help educate women of childbearing age about their special nutritional needs. The March of Dimes is the nation's premier volunteer organization dedicated to improving the health of mothers and babies. The goal of the partnership is to get mothers and babies off to a healthy start by educating women on the need for good nutrition and adequate intake of key vitamins and minerals, including calcium, during their childbearing years.

"By the time a woman knows she's pregnant, her physical health and nutritional status already has affected her baby," said Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "Getting mothers and babies off to a healthy start means ensuring good nutrition before pregnancy, during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. What's more, key nutrients are fundamental for women's health throughout life. We're delighted to have the support of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Heathcare's TUMS brand in heightening women's awareness of their nutritional needs and calcium's benefits for maternal and newborn health."

"The current Food and Nutrition Board dietary reference intakes for calcium for women 18 – 50 is 1,000 mg per day," said Adrianne Bendich, PhD, FACN, Clinical Director, Calcium Research, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. "Unfortunately, more than 90 percent of women in their childbearing years are not getting the calcium they need daily from their diets.

"Sixty-two percent of women of childbearing age don't know how much daily calcium they need. Partnering with the March of Dimes will help us reach millions of women and educate them on the importance of ensuring adequate daily intake of calcium throughout their childbearing years," Bendich concluded.

The TUMS and MOD partnership will include national communications to increase women's understanding of their daily calcium needs, especially before, during and after pregnancy. Program initiatives in the partnership's first year will include development of calcium awareness materials for women available in the offices of obstetricians and gynecologists; nutrition surveys among women of childbearing age; joint media outreach to promote calcium and key nutrient awareness, and TUMS sponsorship of a nutrition roundtable with leaders in maternal health.

Calcium is utilized by virtually every cell in the body. In addition to keeping bones and teeth strong and healthy, calcium is used by the circulatory, muscular and nervous systems to keep the heart beating steadily and nerves and muscles functioning smoothly. When a woman does not get enough calcium from her diet, the body draws calcium from her bones to make up the difference. Over time, this bone loss may significantly weaken bones and can lead to the debilitating condition of osteoporosis.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, calcium from the mother's body is used by the developing baby in building bones and teeth, putting increased demands on the mother's calcium supply. Consuming the recommended amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium may also play a role in helping to maintain normal blood pressure, which is especially important during pregnancy.

The #1 doctor-recommended calcium brand, TUMS represents a simple and convenient way to ensure adequate daily calcium intake. Chewable TUMS contains calcium carbonate, which has the highest percentage of elemental calcium – the calcium actually used by the body. According to an analysis published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, TUMS is also one of the least expensive sources of calcium available to consumers.

About GlaxoSmithKline

GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For more information on TUMS®, please visit www.tums.com.

About March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at www.marchofdimes.com, its Spanish Web site at www.nacersano.org, or call 1-888-MODIMES.

For more information, or to contact March of Dimes, see their website at: www.marchofdimes.com

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