The use of regular supplementation may be important in alleviating the potential effects of specific nutrient deficiencies. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to assess the socio-economic and lifestyle factors influencing the administration of dietary supplements to schoolchildren from the Małopolskie voivodship. The study was conducted in March-June 2018 on 332 healthy children and adolescents (187 boys, 145 girls) aged 7-14 from the city and municipality of Niepołomice and the city of Kraków. The mean age of the subjects was 10.35 + 1.64 years. In order to assess their diet, a questionnaire was completed, by the parents or the child, on the frequency of consumption of specific products and foods (Food Frequency Questionnaire, FFQ) with added questions on the supplements provided. In assessing nutritional status, basic anthropometric measurements were taken and the BMI index was analysed. To check which factors influenced the use of supplements among respondents, the odds ratio (OR) was calculated. Approximately one-third of the total number of subjects (33.8%) took dietary supplements, most often supplements containing vitamins D and C, followed by multivitamin supplements and omega-3 fatty acids. The least common supplements contained calcium and iron. Dietary supplement intake was significantly higher among children living in rural areas compared to city areas (39.3% vs. 26.5% of respondents; p = 0.0150), and among boys compared to girls (37.3% vs. 27.8%; p = 0.048). It was observed that children more often received dietary supplements in multigenerational families and in families where at least one parent did not work. This is related to the place of residence of the respondent. Awareness of the need for, and the safe use of, dietary supplements is necessary among parents of children and adolescents.
Keywords: dietary supplements; eating behaviour; nutritional status; schoolchildren.