Oaks, Brietta

Advisor Department

Nutrition and Food Sciences




nutrition: dietary supplement: college: supplement


Background: Dietary supplement use has been shown to be significantly prevalent in the United States, especially among the young adult population. Studies have reported increasing use of dietary supplements among college students in the US. However, little research has investigated the sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics associated with dietary supplement use in this population.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of dietary supplement use and sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics associated with dietary supplement use in college students and examine the attitudes and beliefs of college students on dietary supplements.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted on 106 college students. A questionnaire was developed to assess student’s demographic and anthropometric data, physical activity, nutritional knowledge, dietary supplement use, and attitudes towards dietary supplements. The data was analyzed using SAS Version 9.4. Frequency counts, Fisher exact tests, Spearman’s rank, multiple logistic regression, and descriptive statistics were performed.

Results: Overall, 66% of college students reported using a dietary supplement in the previous 30 days. The most commonly used dietary supplements used alone or in combination were vitamins (32%), multivitamins/minerals (27%), and proteins (24%). As student age increased, the odds of using a dietary supplement increased by a factor of 1.64 (p < 0.05). The primary reason students reported for using dietary supplements was to improve their overall health (24%) and the most frequently reported source of nutrition information was the media (42%).

Conclusions: Dietary supplement use was considerably higher in the college student population than the general US population. Demographic factors such as age might influence the prevalence of dietary supplement use in this population. Nutritional education and consulting should be made available to college students, emphasizing the role of healthcare providers and researchers in determining beneficial plans for nutrient supplementation.