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Almost a Third of U.S. Kids Use Supplements

Most are taking pills like multivitamins, national study finds

TUESDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- More than 30 percent of American children take some kind of dietary supplement, mostly multivitamins and multiminerals, a U.S. National Institutes of Health study finds.

The study analyzed data on more than 10,000 youngsters from the 1999 to 2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The study found that 31.8 percent of children 18 and younger had used dietary supplements in the previous 30 days. This included 11.9 percent of those younger than 1 year, 38.4 percent of those ages 1-3, 40.6 percent of those ages 4-8, 28.9 percent of those ages 9-13, and 25.7 percent of those ages 14-18.

Among American adults, 57 percent of women and 47 percent of men take dietary supplements.

Among the other study findings:

  • Supplements were used by 38.3 percent of non-Hispanic white children, 22.4 percent of Mexican Americans, and 18.8 percent of non-Hispanic blacks
  • Multivitamins and multiminerals (18.3 percent) were the most commonly used supplements, followed by single vitamins (4.2 percent), single minerals (2.4 percent), and botanical supplements (0.8 percent)
  • 83.9 percent of children who took any supplements took only one, 11.8 percent took two, and 4.3 percent took three or more
  • Supplement use in children was associated with higher family income, a smoke-free environment, lower body mass index, and less daily television, video game or computer time
  • Underweight children or those at risk for being underweight were most likely to take supplements.

The study is published the October issue of the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The researchers in the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements said their findings show that "dietary supplements provide a consistent daily source of nutrients for nearly one-third of U.S. children, yet individual and national-level estimates of nutrient intake rarely account for them."

"Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide recommended nutrient intakes and advice on food choices that promote health and reduce the risk of disease. To truly assess the nutrient status and estimate the potential health risks of U.S. children, we must include nutrient intakes from dietary supplements as well as from food," the study authors concluded.

More information

To learn more, go to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Oct. 1, 2007

Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
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