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Use of Dietary Supplements Keeps Climbing: CDC
Date:4/13/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of U.S. adults take dietary supplements, such as multivitamins and calcium, and their use jumped dramatically over a recent 20-year period, according to a new government report.

Between 1994 and 2006, the proportion of Americans using at least one dietary supplement jumped from 42 percent of adults to 53 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The increase in supplement use may be due to increased awareness and education about dietary supplement use," said lead report author Jaime Gahche, an associate service fellow in the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey/Planning Branch at the National Center for Health Statistics.

Media attention on vitamin D likely boosted intake of that supplement, she said, and massive advertising by the supplement industry may have influenced use of multivitamins. But some experts say multivitamins may not be necessary.

However, since 2006, the growth in supplement usage has leveled off, she said. "We have reason to believe it should stay relatively stable," she added.

The data for the report were gathered from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and included three time periods: 1988 to 1994, 1999 to 2002 and 2003 to 2006.

Among the report's other findings:

  • More women (59 percent) than men (49 percent) use supplements.
  • Use of multivitamins, the most commonly consumed supplement, rose from 30 percent in the earlier period to 39 percent by 2003-2006.
  • Calcium use by women 60 and older increased from 28 percent to 61 percent across the three time periods, but varied by race and ethnicity. More than two-thirds of white women 60 and older (65.7 percent) were taking calcium-containing supplements in 2003-2006, up from 58.9 percent in 1999-2002. Among Mexican American wo
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