What's New -- CSPI Press Releases

June 4, 1997

Contact: Bill Bryant at 202/332-9110 ext. 370 or

Penelope Miller at (202) 332-9110 ext. 358

Nation's Largest Health Newsletter Exceeds One Million Subscribers

Nutrition Action Healthletter, the largest-circulation health newsletter in North America, this week exceeded one million paid subscribers with the June 1997 issue. It's come a long way since it was first published in 1974 as a free guide to activism for health professionals.

Nutrition Action, which features reliable information and original studies in a readable, often humorous style, experienced unprecedented growth in the 1990s. "We made a commitment to reach as many American and Canadian consumers as we could with healthy-eating information," said Michael Jacobson, publisher of the nonprofit newsletter. "Now we've reached a major milestone in that effort."

Nutrition Action's one million subscribers include 65,000 Canadians, who receive a special edition. Nutrition Action is the largest-circulation health newsletter in both Canada and the United States. Surveys show that more than 2,100,000 persons read each issue.

Nutrition Action is published 10 times a year by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit public-interest organization advocating honest food labeling and advertising, safer and more nutritious foods in restaurants and supermarkets, and responsible alcohol policies.

Nutrition Action Healthletter takes it's middle name seriously. "Action" is a central theme of both the publication and of CSPI. Nutrition Action uses an arsenal of weapons, including coupons and draft letters, to help readers express their concerns to corporate and government officials.

CSPI's and Nutrition Action's pioneering work has led to improved food labeling laws, life-saving restrictions on sulfites and other food additives, warning labels on alcoholic beverages, and better diets and health for millions of Americans.

Back in 1974, Nutrition Action started as a free newsletter to nutritionists. Most of its articles focused on government and corporate policies. Right from the start, the newsletter accepted no advertising and that policy has remained firmly in place. The newsletter, however, has changed and grown over the years.

"Nutrition Action Healthletter," said Editor-in-Chief Stephen Schmidt, "now focuses on providing useful information about nutrition, food safety, and other health-related topics for the consumer." Frequently featured are links between diet and disease, comparisons of brand-name food products, critiques of the latest nutrition research, as well as food advertising and labeling exposés.

In the 1990s, Nutrition Action is a colorful, lively, consumer-friendly newsletter. It gained national attention with its series of articles on the nutritional quality of restaurant-food. Those articles by Jane Hurley and Bonnie Liebman included Chinese, Italian, Mexican, seafood, and family-style restaurant food, and even movie-theater popcorn.

A 1994 survey indicated that about 100 million Americans had heard of the studies published in Nutrition Action and, as a result, 40 million had altered their eating habits in some way.

Nutrition Action Healthletter has won awards from the National Wellness Institute, the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Coalition for Consumer Education, the American Medical Writers Association, the National Cholesterol Education Program, and Women in Communications.

What They Say About Nutrition Action and CSPI

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), based in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit health advocacy organization with more than one million members. CSPI publishes the Nutrition Action Healthletter and accepts not government or industry funding. Nutrition Action accepts no advertising. CSPI focuses on nutrition, food safety, and alcohol policy. It was a major proponent of last year's improvements in meat and poultry inspection. It fought for -- and won -- the law that requires "Nutrition Facts" labels on all food packages.

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