Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Julie R. Schumacher
The use of dietary supplements has steadily increased among the American population in recent years; however, little is known about current trends in dietary supplement use in the collegiate population. The purpose of this study was to investigate dietary supplement use, perceptions of knowledge and efficacy of dietary supplements, and lifestyle behaviors of supplement users and non-users in a university population. Undergraduate students, NCAA division I student-athletes, and Army ROTC cadets at a midsized Midwestern University were recruited for a single-stage cross-sectional online survey via email and also through the use of fliers. Participants included 381 undergraduate students, 56 student-athletes, and 58 ROTC cadets.
Half or more of each of the surveyed population groups reported dietary supplement use. Multivitamin/mineral supplements were the most commonly used supplements in the undergraduate and student-athlete samples, while cadets most commonly reported the use of protein supplements. Chi-square analysis indicated that undergraduate supplement users generally reported more favorable perceptions of dietary supplement efficacy for a variety of conditions compared to non-using counterparts.
Supplement users in all of the samples had very positive perceptions of the efficacy of the individual supplements they were taking. Independent sample t-tests and chi-square analysis indicated that undergraduate student supplement users reported significantly more exercise and more healthful dietary habits compared to non-users, but were also more likely to report tobacco use. Differences in lifestyle behaviors of users and non-users in the student-athlete and cadet samples were much less pronounced.
Valentine, Arthur A., "Dietary Supplement Use, Perceptions, and Associated Lifestyle Behaviors in Undergraduate College Students, Student-Athletes, and ROTC Cadets" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 335.