Dietary Supplement Use in Children and Adolescents Aged ≤19 Years - United States, 2017-2018

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 30;69(43):1557-1562. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6943a1.


Dietary supplement use is common among children and adolescents. During 2013-2014, approximately one third of children and adolescents (persons aged ≤19 years) in the United States were reported to use a dietary supplement in the past 30 days, and use varied by demographic characteristics (1,2). Dietary supplements can contribute substantially to overall nutrient intake, having the potential to both mitigate nutrient shortfalls as well as to lead to nutrient intake above recommended upper limits (3). However, because nutritional needs should generally be met through food consumption according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, only a few dietary supplements are specifically recommended for use among children and adolescents and only under particular conditions (4). The most recently released data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during 2017-2018 were used to estimate the prevalence of use among U.S. children and adolescents of any dietary supplement, two or more dietary supplements, and specific dietary supplement product types. Trends were calculated for dietary supplement use from 2009-2010 to 2017-2018. During 2017-2018, 34.0% of children and adolescents used any dietary supplement in the past 30 days, with no significant change since 2009-2010. Use of two or more dietary supplements increased from 4.3% during 2009-2010 to 7.1% during 2017-2018. Multivitamin-mineral products were used by 23.8% of children and adolescents, making these the products most commonly used. Because dietary supplement use is common, surveillance of dietary supplement use, combined with nutrient intake from diet, will remain an important component of monitoring nutritional intake in children and adolescents to inform clinical practice and dietary recommendations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Supplements / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • United States
  • Young Adult