UMMS Affiliation

Center for Integrated Primary Care; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Behavioral Medicine | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Health Psychology | Integrative Medicine | Psychiatry and Psychology


BACKGROUND: Little is known about the association between use of herbs and dietary supplements (HDS) and lifestyle/behavior factors in young adults in the US.

METHODS: Analyzing the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), we examined the patterns of HDS (excluding vitamins/minerals) use among young adults in the United States using descriptive statistics and logistic regression.

RESULTS: In our sample of 18 to 30 year olds (n = 6666), 26% were current smokers, 24% were moderate/heavy drinkers, 43% had high physical activity, and 54% and 76% use prescription and over the counter (OTC) medications respectively. Non-vitamin, non-mineral HDS was used by 17% of the overall sample in the last 12 months. In the multivariable analysis, the lifestyle and behavioral factors associated with HDS use include: current smoking (odds ratio 1.41 95% CI [1.16-1.72]); being a former smoker (1.50 [1.15-1.95]); moderate/heavy alcohol use (2.02 [1.53-2.65]); high physical activity levels (2.45 [1.98-3.03]); and prescription medication use (1.51 [1.26-1.81]). Among HDS users, only 24% discussed their use with a health care professional.

CONCLUSION: Nearly one in five young adults report using non-vitamin/non-mineral HDS.


Dietary Supplement, National Health Interview Survey, High Risk Behavior, High Physical Activity, Natural Herb

Rights and Permissions

© 2007 Gardiner et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI of Published Version



BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007 Nov 30;7:39. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-7-39. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

BMC complementary and alternative medicine


At the time of publication, Paula Gardiner was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID