Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Heidi Wengreen

Abstract

Current dietary supplement legislation allows nutrition misinformation to flourish; misleading structure‐function and health‐claims now abound on supplement labels. Meanwhile, college students tend to be open to experimentation and exploration. Hence, this study’s objective was to discover if students at USU are being influenced by such claims to unjustifiably take dietary supplements in a manner which hinders the development of healthy eating habits. During August of 2009, 1,300 USU freshmen were invited to voluntarily participate in an on‐line survey concerning dietary patterns which included a section about dietary supplementation. Five‐hundred‐and‐twelve completed the survey after providing informed written consent to participate. The majority of participants were 18‐years‐old and Caucasian. Thirty‐five percent of students reported taking at least one dietary supplement; the most common being a multivitamin. Popular reasons for supplementation included improved health and muscle augmentation. Also, 51% of supplement users reported family members as their source of supplement information. While no significant difference existed between the dietary patterns of supplement and non‐supplement users, the efficacy of supplementation practices was questionable. Ultimately, considering the circumstances of college life and the prevalence of dietary supplement use among college students, on‐campus nutritional professionals should be actively engaged in educating students about dietary supplements.

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