Health characteristics of older Australian dietary supplement users compared to non-supplement users

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Publication details

Brownie, S & Rolfe, MI 2004, 'Health characteristics of older Australian dietary supplement users compared to non-supplement users', Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 365-371.

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The aim of this study was to measure the prevalence of dietary and health supplement use among Australians aged 65 years and over, and to contrast the health differences between supplement users and non-supplement users. Data was obtained from 1,263 randomly selected older Australians, who provided general demographic data, in addition to information related to their health, symptoms experienced and uses of medication, including dietary supplements. Supplement use was reported by 43% of the sample (52% of females and 35% of males). This investigation has revealed distinct differences in the health profile of older supplement users compared to non-users. Although there was no difference in the number of visits to medical doctors or self-rated health status between supplement users and non-supplement users, supplement users were more likely to report arthritis and osteoporosis, and experience more symptoms and consume more medication than non-supplement users. In contrast, there was a reduced likelihood of taking a supplement for those with hypertension and by those using blood pressure medication and heart tablets. These results suggest that older dietary supplement users may benefit from education and professional advice to assist them make appropriate and informed choices, particularly if they expect these preparations to attenuate their health concerns.

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