With the new independence of adulthood, college students are a group susceptible to adopting unsupported, if not harmful, health practices. A survey of Arizona State University undergraduate students (N=200) was conducted to evaluate supplement use, trust in information sources, and beliefs about supplement regulation. Of those who reported using supplements, college students most frequently received information from friends and family. STEM majors in fields unrelated to health who were taking a supplement were found to be less likely to receive information about the supplement from a medical practitioner than those in health fields or those in non-STEM majors (-26.9%, p=0.018). STEM majors in health-related fields were 15.0% more likely to treat colds and/or cold symptoms with research-supported methods identified from reliable sources, while non-health STEM and non-STEM majors were more likely to take unsupported cold treatments (p=0.010). Surveyed students, regardless of major, also stated they would trust a medical practitioner for supplement advice above other sources (88.0%), and the majority expressed a belief that dietary supplements are approved/regulated by the government (59.8%).
- Assessing Practices and Perceptions of Supplements Among College Students