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According to a New Government Survey, 38 Percent of Adults and 12 Percent of Children Use Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Date:12/10/2008

ional Health Statistics Report by NCHS, are based on data from more than 23,300 interviews with American adults and more than 9,400 interviews with adults on behalf of a child in their household. The 2007 survey is the second conducted by NCCAM and NCHS --- the first was done as part of the 2002 NHIS (2).

CAM Use Among Adults

Comparison of the data from the 2002 and 2007 surveys suggests that overall use of CAM among adults has remained relatively steady --- 36 percent in 2002 and 38 percent in 2007. However, there has been substantial variation in the use of some specific CAM therapies, such asdeep breathing, meditation, massage therapy, and yoga, which all showed significant increases.

The most commonly used CAM therapies among U.S. adults were

  • Nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products (17.7 percent)

Most common: fish oil/omega 3/DHA, glucosamine, echinacea, flaxseed oil or pills, and ginseng (3)

  • Deep breathing exercises (12.7 percent)
  • Meditation (9.4 percent)
  • Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation (8.6 percent)
  • Massage (8.3 percent)
  • Yoga (6.1 percent).

Adults used CAM most often to treat pain including back pain or problems, neck pain or problems, joint pain or stiffness/other joint condition, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Adult use of CAM therapies for head or chest colds showed a marked decrease from 2002 to 2007 (9.5 percent in 2002 to 2.0 percent in 2007).

Consistent with results from the 2002 data, in 2007 CAM use among adults was greater among:

  • Women (42.8 percent, compared to men 33.5 percent)
  • Those aged 30-69 (30-39 years: 39.6 percent, 40-49 years: 40.1 percent, 50-59 y
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SOURCE National Institutes of Health; National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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