USN linked to company promoting sport supplements in children

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Posted 21 April 2016

Readers of CamCheck will be aware that USN and owner, Albe Geldenhuys is suing Dr Harris Steinman for R2 million Rand for the latter calling into question the questionable actions of USN/Geldenhuys.

The journalist, Elaine Swanepoel, has drawn attention in the recent Afrikaans Sunday newspaper, Die Rapport, to USN targeting and marketing to sport supplements to children. Bizarrely, according to the report: “Yet says Albe Geldenhuys, head of USN, to Die Rapport, that primary school children should not under any circumstances be using supplements”.

SportmaxThe claim is made that “The range of products have been tested by the MCC (Medical (sic) Control Council) and are manufactured in Gauteng”. However, the MCC does NOT test products! The product, ToneMax, contains Garcinia cambogia, an ingredient never tested in children, and associated with reports of liver failure!

The mere fact that this product contains Garcinia, an ingredient that may increase the levels of serotonin, requires this product to be registered with the Medicines Control Council. In fact, according to the Medicines Act, these  products are unregistered illegal products.

Furthermore, the products are marketed to children as young as 12 years! (The products include WheyMax (SportMax recommended dose is only for people older than 16 years), EnduroMax (14 years), MassMax (12 years) and Vitamax (12 years).)

The major thrust of the article is not for these pertinent facts, but about the ethics of the aggressive targeting of school children, and selling these products at schools.

Below follows a Google Translate of the original article, published in Afrikaans.

Sport supplements at schools raise questions

By Elaine Swanepoel 17 April 2016

Die Rapport

A culture of sports supplements to be bigger, better, faster and more competitive is gaining ground even in primary schools – with a company in which the singer Bobby van Jaarsveld has an interest.

SportMax, a division of well-known USN (Ultimate Sports Nutrition supplements), has established networks in schools where children can act as agents to sell supplements to their partners. SportMax apparently can be bought even in a school tuck shop.

The school that earns the most points by selling more products, allowing SportMax to advertise in their gyms and to attend talks, wins a concert by Bobby van Jaarsveld.

Van Jaarsveld to confirmed he owns a third of the company and act as their ambassador. He said the products sets “safety first”.

According to the SportMax website three of the top ten schools are primary schools.

Yet says Albe Geldenhuys, head of USN, to Die Rapport, that primary school children should not under any circumstances be using supplements. These schools may earn points in other ways, he said.

[SportMax] products include WheyMax (SportMax recommended dose is only for people older than 16 years), EnduroMax (14 years), MassMax (12 years) and Vitamax (12 years).

ToneMax (16 years and older) is a weight loss product garcinia cambogia, contains a kind of tropical citrus fruit.

SportMax said their products do not contain stimulants and this is exactly why they are suitable for younger users.

Dr. Celesti Jansen van Rensburg, attached to the Free State Sports wetenskapinstituut (FSSSI) differs sharply. She said athletes using supplements at an early age will be more likely to use supplements and stimulants later in life.

It is not easy to test supplements, because scientists must test for each of hundreds of stimulants individually.

SportMax’s packaging contains little information on what exactly the products contain, except to say which vitamins it contains and how the products are believed to help.

Jaco Barnard, one of the partners of SportMax, say their products are 100% safe and tested in Britain.

“School children use supplements, whether experts like it or not, and they usually use dangerous products that are freely available on the market.”

Barnard says athletes at the school level are training much harder and longer than 20 years ago and children do not have time or money to eat according to their body’s needs.

“School sport has become extremely competitive, especially in hockey, and players are already being contracted at the age of 16 by unions.

“Coaches and parents put incredible lot of pressure on players to perform.

“We mean only good by this.”

Barnard says he has ten years of experience in the use of sports supplements and is employed by USN to regularly give training on the products in this series.

He said SportMax talks about the dangers of anabolic drugs held at more than 200 schools in the country. In a video on the website he and Bobby present to pupils at Grey College in Bloemfontein.

However, Grey College is upset about the video on the website and say they do not use the product.

“We do not approve of any supplements of any kind at all, and do not distribute it among our students,” said Wessel du Plessis, the school’s sports coordinator.

According SportMax’s website, they were the official sponsor of the Afrikaans Girls’ High School in Pretoria’s first netball team, last year. The team evidently  drunk ToneMax as a meal replacement in the morning.

Maggie du Plessis, director of Affies netball, said SportMax does not form part of Affies netball this year.

The high school F. H. Odendaal in Pretoria topped the SportMax standings. Quenten Engelbrecht, deputy headmaster, sells the product.

“We’ve used the product since January and have had no problems. Jaco (Barnard) is very professional and the result is a purely a supplement. “

Khalid Galant, head of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport, said it was unethical for companies to market their products as part of a campaign to inform children about the dangers of stimulants.

“It’s shocking. Schools are always looking for sponsors and SportMax exploits that. By marketing the product in schools, they also build a brand loyalty for USN among children.”

Wayne Price, chairman of the International Body in South Africa, says there is no room for supplements at school.

“My daughter is a talented athlete in several sports, but I would not want her touching a supplement. Nothing touches a proper diet,” he says.

Pottie Potgieter, father of one of SportMax’s young ambassadors (15), said food does not contain sufficient nutritional value* and is also becoming increasingly expensive.

“My son has tremendous perseverance and working hard to be strong and stay fit, but we live in a competitive world.

“I’ve seen Bobby van Jaarsveld’s picture on SportMax website and thought he would not be involved if there is anything wrong. I then applied for my child to be an ambassador. “

*This is a common, but erroneous, belief – CamCheck editor.

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