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).
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