How Do Consumer Attitudes On Nutritional Supplements Differ From Policy Makers?

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Consumer Attitudes About The Role Of Multivitamins And Other Dietary Supplements: Report of a Survey

Annette Dickinson Email author,Douglas MacKay and Andrea Wong

What do consumers who take nutritional supplements know that policy makers and health care industry experts don’t? They know that nutritional supplements are essential to health. That means consumers continue to buy, consume and drive new market applications for nutraceuticals and phytonutrients. Nature’s way works best. Food was always our only medicine.

Public health agencies across the country are dealing with a tsunami of lifestyle based diseases which fall overwhelmingly on emergency rooms. We know where the food deserts are. The absence of reliable food systems in all our communities point to nutritional supplements as being an affordable, vital part of any wellness plan.

U.S. nutrition surveys find that intakes of many nutrients fall short of recommendations. The majority of U.S. adults use multivitamins and other dietary supplements as one means of improving nutrient intakes.

Some policy makers and health professionals appear reluctant to recommend routine use of dietary supplements to fill nutrient gaps in the diet, in part because they are concerned that people will view the supplements as a substitute for dietary improvement and that the use of supplements may lead to overconsumption of micronutrients.

Surveys find that in fact users of dietary supplements tend to have better diets and adopt other healthy habits, suggesting that the supplements are viewed as one aspect of an overall effort to improve wellness. Furthermore, evidence demonstrates that the incidence of excess micronutrient intake is low. We report the results of a survey probing consumer attitudes about the role of dietary supplements.
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