The Factors Associated With Dietary Supplement Use Among College Students
MetadataShow full item record
Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. School of Allied Medical Professions Honors Theses; 2008
Dietary supplement use has increased over the past decade in college students. Many have received formal health education concerning effects of alcohol consumption or drug use, but few have studied the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements. To assess the supplement intake patterns of college students at a major Midwestern university, an online survey was available for students in a business and allied medical professions survey course. An e-mail was sent from the instructors inviting students to participate, providing a study description, participation criteria, and an embedded link to the survey. Questions were modified from a previous survey to identify the proportion of students using dietary supplements, the specific supplements taken, indications, and side effects. Of the 335 students completing the survey, approximately 37.6% reported current or previous use of dietary supplements. The most common supplement types were dietary/herbal supplements without vitamins/minerals (33.8%); dietary/herbal supplement with vitamins/minerals (23.9%); vitamin supplements alone (21%); mineral supplements alone (3.2%); vitamin and mineral supplements combined (22.5%); and others that did not fit into any category (4.5%). The most frequently cited reasons for taking dietary supplements were to: increase energy; lose weight; ensure adequate nutritional status; prevent illness; and enhance athletic performance. Side effects reported included nausea, light-headedness and jitteriness and tachycardia. Family members were the most common source of information/recommendation regarding dietary supplements, with twice the influence than friends or health food stores. The prevalence of the use of dietary supplements warrants the availability of Student Health Center RD consultations as well as the development and strategic marketing of evidence-based dietary supplement curricular offerings.
Accepted for National American Dietetic Association conference 2008 poster session