The prevalence of herb and dietary supplement use among children and adolescents in the United States: Results from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey

Complement Ther Med. 2013 Aug;21(4):358-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.05.001. Epub 2013 May 29.


Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine the national prevalence of herb and dietary supplement usage among children and adolescents age 4-17 in the United States, and to identify population factors associated with usage.

Methods: Weighted population estimates are derived from the 2007 National Health Interview Child Complementary and Alternative Medicine Supplement (sample n=9417). Wald chi-square tests are used to compare factors associated with herb and dietary supplement use.

Results: An estimated 2.9 million children and adolescents used herbs or dietary supplements in 2007. Pediatric herb and supplement use was more common among adolescents and non-Hispanic whites, and positively associated with parental education and household income. Children with activity limitations due to chronic health conditions, long-term prescription use, or relatively heavy use of physician services were also more likely to use herbal supplements. Echinacea and fish oil were most commonly used herbs and supplements.

Conclusions: Children in the US appear to use herbs or dietary supplements at a much lower rate than adults. This analysis shows a pattern of moderate and appropriate herb and supplement use in the pediatric population.

Keywords: Children; Dietary supplement; Herbal medicine; Herbs; National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Supplements / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Plant Preparations