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More than 80% of consumers realize these supplements are just one part of a healthy diet, according to survey.
An overwhelming majority of U.S. consumers recognize the value of multivitamins, calcium, and/or vitamin D supplements to fill nutrient gaps in the diet, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington DC). But more than 80% of consumers realize that those supplements are just one part of a healthy diet and should not replace healthy eating or lifestyle habits.
The online survey asked 2,159 Americans aged 18 and older to share their opinions on the role that multivitamins, calcium, and vitamin D supplements play in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Respondents were asked to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement with statements that suggest these supplements fill nutrient gaps in the diet, these supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet, and that people should consult their physician about supplement use.
88% of respondents agreed that calcium and vitamin D supplements can help support bone health when dietary intake is not sufficient, and 87% of respondents agreed that multivitamins and mineral supplements can help meet nutrient needs if people don’t get enough nutrients from food alone.
Beyond widespread acceptance of the role these supplements can play in filling nutrient gaps, 82% of respondents agreed that people should talk with their physician before using a high-dose, single nutrient supplement, and 80% agreed that “a multivitamin should not be used to replace healthy diet and lifestyle habits.”
The authors of an article on the survey-published in Nutrition Journal-suggest these findings should reassure physicians and policy makers about the way consumers perceive the role of dietary supplements.
“Our data suggest that policy makers and health professionals can recommend dietary supplements to help improve nutrient intakes without being concerned that this will cause consumers to discount the importance of eating a healthy diet,” says Annette Dickinson, PhD, CRN consultant and author of the survey, in a press release.
The survey also revealed that “three-fourths of respondents agreed that multivitamins are not intended to cure disease, and two-thirds agreed that multivitamins are not medicine,” according to the article in Nutrition Journal.
The online survey was conducted on behalf of CRN, designed and analyzed by FoodMinds, and fielded in October 2014 using Toluna’s On-line Omnibus. Survey quotas for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income were used and responses were weighted as necessary to establish the survey population as representative of the larger U.S. population.
“As Americans continue to seek ways to stay healthy, dietary supplements play an important role,” says Douglas (Duffy) MacKay, ND, senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN. “Therefore, it’s important for our industry, as well as those in scientific, academic, health care practitioner, and policy circles, to understand how consumers view that role.”
Dickinson A et al., “Consumer attitudes about the role of multivitamins and other dietary supplements: report of a survey.” Nutrition Journal, vol. 14 (July 2015): 66.
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