Dietary Supplement Use More Prevalent than Previously Reported

A new article based on five years of online market research studies by Ipsos Public Affairs to the Council for Responsible Nutrition reports that dietary supplement use among U.S. adults is more prevalent than previously reported.

WASHINGTON—According to a new article published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American College of Nutrition (JACN), dietary supplement use by adults in the United States is more prevalent than previously indicated by data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) (Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2014; 33(2):176-182). The new article is based on five consecutive years of online market research studies, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (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," said Annette Dickinson, Ph.D., corresponding author and a consultant for CRN. "The CRN/Ipsos data included regular, occasional and seasonal use throughout the year, which more realistically captures the full scope of dietary supplement utilization."

The article notes that overall supplement use as reported by respondents to the CRN surveys in 2007-2011 ranged from 64 to 69 percent, while regular use of dietary supplements ranged from 48 to 53 percent, levels equivalent to the overall prevalence reported in NHANES. Over the five years of the CRN survey, the percentage of people using a variety of supplements increased, while the percentage only using a multivitamin decreased. The primary reasons given for using a dietary supplements were “overall health and wellness" and “to fill nutrient gaps in the diet."

"What the data tells us 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," said Judy Blatman, senior vice president, communications, CRN. "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."    

The review, titled “Consumer usage and reasons for using dietary supplements: report of a series of surveys," is co-authored by Dickinson, Blatman, Julio C. Franco of Ipsos Public Affairs and Neale El-Dash, Ph.D., formerly with Ipsos Public Affairs.

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