Document Type


Publication details

Brownie, S 2006, 'Predictors of dietary and health supplement use in older Australians', Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 26-31.

The abstract and pdf of the published article reprinted in ePublications@SCU with the permission the AJAN

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Peer Reviewed



Objective: This study aimed to identify the health conditions and symptoms that predicted dietary and health supplement use in older Australians. Design: Almost 2,500 Australians aged 65 years and over were randomly selected from the 2000 Australian Electoral Commission roll. All states and territories were proportionally represented in the sample. Data were obtained using a self-administered postal survey. Subjects: Approximately 1,200 individuals (51% males and 49% females) aged between 65-98 years completed the survey. Results: At the time of survey, 43% (n=548) reported using some form of supplement. Supplement use was significantly associated with gender (female) and chronic musculoskeletal ailments such as arthritis, osteoporosis and generalised back or neck problems. A diagnosis of hypertension or a heart condition were significant barriers to supplement use in this sample. The most common potential drug-supplement interaction was between calcium supplements and antihypertensives. Conclusion: Older supplement users may be of the opinion that supplements offer relief from the pain and suffering associated with their medical problems. If so, current supplement patterns would indicate that they are misguided. Nurses have an important role to play in encouraging older individuals to disclose their use of supplements to all health professionals involved in their continuing care.

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