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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Food Components and Health Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #160949


item Sharpe, Patricia
item Conway, Joan
item Ainsworth, Barbara
item Blanck, Heidi
item Williams, J

Submitted to: American Public Health Association Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2004
Publication Date: 11/1/2004
Citation: Sharpe, P.A., Conway, J.M., Ainsworth, B.E., Blanck, H., Williams, J. 2004. A national survey of complementary and alternative medicine use for weight loss and control. American Public Health Association Meeting, Washington, D.C., November 6-10.

Interpretive Summary: none

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this study was to identify prevalence and correlates of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use for weight loss or maintenance in a national sample of adults. The 2002 National Physical Activity and Weight Loss Survey assessed CAM use for weight loss or control. Random selection of adults 18 y and over from U.S. households (n = 11,211) was made. A replicate design from three independent samples achieved racial and ethnic representation of Black and Hispanics. Statistical weights were created and odds ratios (ORs) were computed with the program SUDAAN. Only 892 (7.96%) respondents reported they had ever used CAM; of the 892, 530 (4.7% of total) reported CAM use within the past 12 months. Associations with self-reported CAM use were found for females, whites, younger age (<55), higher income (> $50,000 annually), and higher education (>high school). Of the 530 respondents who reported CAM in the past 12 months, 372 (70%) named a primary therapy that could be classifed as CAM. The top five primary CAM methods were yoga , meditation, massage, acupuncture, and Eastern martial arts. Use of CAM methods for weight loss or maintenance in the past 12 months (n = 372) was associated with use of exercise for weight control (OR = 3.1), use of a high-protein diet (OR = 1.7), use of non-prescription weight loss products (i.e., supplements) (OR =2.6), physical activity level (meeting the Center for Disease Control - American College of Sports Medicine guidelines) (OR = 7.1), and body dissatisfaction (OR = 1.7). CAM use was not associated with BMI category or having a chronic disease. While relatively few participants reported CAM use for weight loss or control there was a wide variety of CAM methods used. With the increasing incidence of obesity among Americans, it is important to continue to assess CAM use and the success of the CAM regimens.