Online Program

Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of dietary supplement regulations among urban college students

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rachel Torres, EdD, MPH, CHES, Department of Health Education, Borough of Manhattan Community College - City University of New York, New York, NY
Hardaye Hansen, MSW, Department of Health Education, Borough of Manhattan Community College - City University of New York, New York, NY
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies provide a new approach for health and wellness. Recent national surveys estimate that 40% of adults use CAM. Included in that are dietary supplements, which also happens to be one of the fastest growing categories for CAM. Little is known about how knowledgeable young adults are regarding the dietary supplement regulations or how they are able to navigate, sort and understand such information, something that is often referred to as health literacy. A total of 552 students who were enrolled in introductory health education classes at the Borough of Manhattan Community College completed an online survey to assess their 1) current knowledge and attitudes towards dietary supplement regulations and 2) subjective health literacy. The average knowledge score for dietary regulations was 4.42 (SD =3.361) suggesting that participants were not very knowledgeable about the dietary supplement regulations. When asked where they received their information about dietary supplements, the majority cited the Internet (n=208), followed by health food stores (n=183). Their subjective health literacy level found a mean of 53.13 (SD =20.891) indicating that some participants were confident in their health literacy level. Correlation analysis found a modest relationship between subjective health literacy level and knowledge regarding regulations. The results in this study highlight the need to increase dietary supplement education; including what information is being received and how effective current strategies are among urban college students. It is important to provide accurate, balanced and appropriate information regarding dietary supplements (potential benefits, risks, and side effects).

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe urban college students' understanding of dietary supplement regulations Discuss future implications of study results on educating individuals on the regulation of dietary supplements.

Keyword(s): College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator focusing on CAM. This is also part of my research interests.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.