April Flowers for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
A new study from Ipsos Public Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) reveals that dietary supplement use by US adults is more prevalent than previous studies from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) have indicated. Ipsos conducted five years of online market research to gather the data described in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
According to Annette Dickinson, Ph.D., a consultant for CRN, “This new review adds to the literature about usage patterns of dietary supplement users. The NHANES data is of course invaluable, but it only asks respondents about their dietary supplement usage over a 30-day period. The CRN/Ipsos data included regular, occasional and seasonal use throughout the year, which more realistically captures the full scope of dietary supplement utilization.”
Overall, the results revealed that supplement use, as reported by participants responding to CRN surveys in 2007-2011, ranged from 64 to 69 percent. The number of participants who reported “regular” use ranged from 48 to 53 percent, which was equivalent to the overall prevalence reported in NHANES. In the CRN surveys, regular users were asked whether they used a variety of products or only a multivitamin. Over the study period, the number of regular users who reported using a variety of supplements increased, while the number using only a multivitamin decreased. By the final year of the study, 2011, twice as many participants who identified themselves as regular supplement users said they used a variety of products than those who used only a multivitamin. The most common reasons given for using a variety of products were “overall health and wellness” and “to fill nutrient gaps in the diet.”
According to the findings of the CRN surveys, users of dietary supplements are more likely to adopt a variety of healthy habits than nonusers. This corresponds to previous research recently published in Nutrition Journal.
“What the data tells us,” said Judy Blatman, senior vice president of communications at CRN, “is that dietary supplement usage is a mainstream practice, and, contrary to some assertions, supplement users do not use these products as a license to slack off on eating right or exercising, but instead are health conscious individuals trying to do all the right things to be healthy. They are more likely than nonusers to try to eat a balanced diet, visit their doctor regularly, get a good night’s sleep, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight.”
Dr. Dickinson observed, “The CRN data and NHANES data both indicate that half to two-thirds of American adults use dietary supplements and that their motivation comes from a desire to stay healthy. The evidence suggests that supplement use is viewed as one component of an overall wellness strategy.”