Differences in fruit and vegetable intake among categories of dietary supplement users

Jill Reedy, Pamela S Haines, Marci Kramish Campbell
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2005, 105 (11): 1749-56

BACKGROUND: People who choose to take dietary supplements are often classified as having a healthful lifestyle; however, it is probable that several health behavior patterns exist among users.

OBJECTIVE: Data from the North Carolina Strategies to Improve Diet, Exercise, and Screening study (N = 727) were used to identify and describe five different categories of dietary supplement use and evaluate how these categories are associated with both quantity and quality of fruit and vegetable consumption.

DESIGN: Five nonoverlapping dietary supplement use categories were created and descriptive demographic statistics were compared. Least-squares means were calculated for knowledge and fruit and vegetable quality and quantity measures. Logistic regression was performed to calculate adjusted odds ratios to examine associations among the dietary supplement use categories and the fruit and vegetable measures, using nonusers as the reference category.

RESULTS: Demographic profiles and dietary intake varied among the dietary supplement categories. People reporting both a multivitamin/multimineral and a single supplement (Multi Plus category) and any nonvitamin/nonmineral products (Herbals category) were more likely to be consuming more vegetables and higher-quality fruits and vegetables than those not taking any dietary supplements (Nonusers category), whereas people taking multivitamins/multiminerals only (Multis category) had patterns that were more consistently similar to those not taking any dietary supplements (Nonusers).

CONCLUSIONS: Study participants exhibited dietary supplement use patterns that were associated with differences in fruit and vegetable consumption. Simply characterizing people as users and nonusers will not capture critical demographic and dietary differences and will likely further cloud investigations of diet-disease relationships.

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