Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #307349

Research Project: EPIDEMIOLOGY, NUTRITION AND PROBLEMS OF AGING

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Prevalence and predictors of children's dietary supplement use: the 2007 National Health Interview Survey

Author
item Dwyer, Johanna - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Nahin, Richard - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item Barnes, Patricia - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States
item Jacques, Paul - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Sempos, Christopher - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item Bailey, Regan - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Rogers, Gail - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University

Submitted to: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/27/2013
Publication Date: 4/10/2013
Citation: Dwyer, J., Nahin, R.L., Barnes, P.M., Jacques, P.F., Sempos, C.T., Bailey, R., Rogers, G.T. 2013. Prevalence and predictors of children's dietary supplement use: the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 97(6):1331-1337.

Interpretive Summary: Recent national surveys have revealed that the prevalence of dietary supplement (DS) use has increased in adults and children over the past decade. Yet, relatively little is known about the characteristics of DS users. The goals of this study were to compare and contrast the prevalence of DS use in children, predictors of use, and reasons why children are given these products. We examined data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which surveyed 29,266 households in the United States, yielding data on 75,764 persons from 29,915 families. For the purpose of this study, we examined data for children less than 18 years of age only. The NHIS core set of basic health and demographic questions collected information on respondent characteristics, including demographics, socioeconomic status, health-related characteristics, functional limitations (e.g., needing help with personal care, currently unable to work because of a health problem, or receiving special education), and health care use. Supplemental questionnaires collected information on the use of multivitamin mineral (MVM) products, single vitamin and mineral supplements, and dietary supplements containing non-vitamin and non-mineral components. A total of 37% of children used dietary supplements, 31% of children used MVM products exclusively, 4% of children used single vitamins or minerals solely or in combination with MVMs, and 2% of children used non-vitamin, non-mineral products either solely or in combination with other supplements. Children using supplements were more likely than non-users to be Asian, white, or non-Hispanic; belong to families with higher parental education and income levels; reside in areas other than the South; be in good, very good, or excellent health; have private health insurance; and have a usual place at which they received conventional medical care. Children with the most disease burden and health care were more likely to use supplements than were healthier children. Supplements were reported to be given for the prevention or treatment of many illnesses and conditions. Neither the caregiver's reasons nor specific supplements used were consistently associated with particular health conditions. Our results indicate that the 37% of US children who used any type of dietary supplements differed from non-users in family socioeconomic status and many other health-related characteristics. Users were given supplements to prevent or treat many illnesses and conditions for which there is only limited evidence of their efficacy.

Technical Abstract: Little is known about the characteristics of US children who are dietary supplement users. We described the prevalence and predictors of and reasons for giving children dietary supplements. The study included children <18 y of age who participated in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine supplement of the National Health Interview Survey of 2007 whose proxies provided complete information on child dietary supplement use. A total of 37% of subjects used dietary supplements, 31% of subjects used multivitamin mineral (MVM) products exclusively, 4% of subjects used single vitamins or minerals solely or in combination with MVMs, and 2% of subjects used nonvitamin, nonmineral products either solely or in combination with other supplements. Users were more likely than nonusers to be Asian, white, or non-Hispanic; belong to families with higher parental education and income levels; reside in areas other than the South; be in good, very good, or excellent health; have private health insurance; and have a usual place at which they received conventional medical care. Children (3%) with the most disease burden and health care were more likely to use supplements than were healthier children. Supplements were given for the prevention or treatment of many illnesses and conditions. Neither the caregiver's reasons nor specific supplements used were consistently associated with particular conditions. The 37% of US children who used any type of dietary supplements differed from nonusers in family socioeconomic status and many other health-related characteristics. Users were given supplements to prevent or treat many illnesses and conditions for which there is only limited evidence of their efficacy.