According to a new research report by Ipsos Public Affairs, a market research company, Americans are taking nutritional supplements in numbers that are surprising, given the previous estimates. The Council for Responsible Nutrition looked at the data from five years of market research following the results gleaned from online surveys. The analysts found that Americans were using nutritional supplements with greater frequency than previously estimated through the National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys.
This new research is quite interesting because not only does it tell us what Americans are taking, but it also provides an important demographic profile for this specific group of people.
The issue here, when it comes to comparing the results to past studies, is that this new information is very accurate, as it considered those folks who use supplements regularly, occasionally, or seasonally throughout each year; previous government data only provided supplement use in people who had taken them in the last 30 days.
As of the year 2011, approximately 65%–70% of respondents indicated that they had taken nutritional supplements over the last five years. The number of people reporting regular supplement use came in at 48%–53%. What is interesting in this case is that within this group of “regular users,” individual nutrient use increased, while the use of multivitamins gradually diminished over the five-year period. This trend indicated that most people were taking nutrients for specific reasons and were shifting their usage in a more concentrated effort.
The main rationale that regular users of nutritional supplements gave for their continued usage over the study period was to improve their overall health and wellness or to compensate for nutrient gaps in their diets.
The study also indicated that those people who used nutritional supplements on a regular basis were much more likely to be involved in a regular exercise program, consume a normal, healthy type of diet, maintain a normal weight, get enough sleep every night, and arrange check-ups with their physician.
According to the study’s co-author, Judy Blatman, “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.”
This study also continues to indicate that people in the U.S. are taking nutritional supplements as part of their own personalized health and wellness strategy. There is a definite intent among this group of people to maintain a healthy status, and they view the use of supplemental nutrients as one strategy to accomplish this task.
This new evidence is quite revealing, given the reports following the release of research data that implied that taking nutritional supplements was a waste of time and money simply because the particular research methods used in that study did not show that supplements could prevent death from chronic disease.
It’s obviously clear from this new report that most people are not taking nutritional supplements for that reason!
Sources for Today’s Article:
Dickson, A., et al., “Consumer usage and reasons for using dietary supplements: report of a series of surveys,” The Journal of the American College of Nutrition April 2014; 33(2): 176–82.
Paddock, C., “More Americans using dietary supplements than previously thought,” Medical News Today web site, April 15, 2014; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275518.php.