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College Students’ Familiarity with CAM Supplements

As parents increasingly turn to complementary and alternative medicine for their children, researchers pondered whether college students were more or less receptive to CAM. Would a history of use at home influence attitudes as they take control of their own health. These study results may surprise you about overall awareness and a desire for increased education.

iStock_000020257340SmallThus far, most research completed on the perception of, familiarity with, and knowledge of herbal supplements has focused mainly on adults, children, or college students living overseas. Very limited research has occurred, however, on the use of herbal supplements by college students residing in the United States. A review of the literature on college-aged students in the United States uncovered a study that showed that 50.0% of a pool of 59 students, who had completed required or experimental courses on herbal supplements, had a more favorable perception and felt adequately knowledgeable on the subject. Harris et al assessed 63 pharmacy
students’ perceptions of, familiarity with, and knowledge of herbal supplements and found that 73.0% wanted to increase their knowledge.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), use of herbal Patient talking to her doctorsupplements is increasing and will continue to rise. With parents administering medicinal herbs to children as a preventive alternative to traditional drugs, the research team thought it would be interesting to assess the use of these products during the transition into adulthood through college life. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to research college students’ perceptions of, familiarity with, and knowledge of herbal supplements in health promotion. Alternative Therapies, Vol. 18, No. 5 by Caitlyn Zimmerman; Jay Kandiah, PhD, RD, CD


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