Use of complementary health approaches among children aged 4-17 years in the United States: National Health Interview Survey, 2007-2012

Natl Health Stat Report. 2015 Feb 10;(78):1-19.


Objective: This report presents national estimates of the use of complementary health approaches among children aged 4-17 years in the United States. Selected modalities are compared for 2007 and 2012 to examine changes over time.

Methods: Data from the 2007 and 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were analyzed for this report. The combined sample included 17,321 interviews with knowledgeable adults about children aged 4-17 years. Point estimates and estimates of their variances were calculated using SUDAAN software to account for the complex sampling design of NHIS. Differences between percentages were evaluated using two-sided significance tests at the 0.05 level.

Results: The use of complementary health approaches among children did not change significantly since 2007 (from 12.0% in 2007 to 11.6% in 2012). However, one approach, the use of traditional healers, showed a statistically significant decrease in use, from 1.1% in 2007 to 0.1% in 2012. No other significant decreases were identified. An increase in the use of yoga was observed during this period (from 2.3% in 2007 to 3.1% in 2012). Nonvitamin, nonmineral dietary supplements; chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation; and yoga, tai chi, or qi gong were the most commonly used complementary health approaches in both 2007 and 2012. Also consistent between 2007 and 2012 was that complementary health approaches were most frequently used for back or neck pain, head or chest cold, anxiety or stress, and other musculoskeletal conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dietary Supplements / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United States