Dietary Supplements Play a Significant Role in Wellness
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 10, 2009 – It wouldn’t be surprising to find that registered dietitians (RDs) are among the healthiest eaters in the United States, but their healthy habits extend beyond diet. Registered dietitians demonstrate a commitment to the three pillars of health: a healthy diet, supplements and regular exercise. According to new research from the “Life…supplemented” 2009 Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study, eight in 10 registered dietitians view dietary supplements as important for maintaining health.
The study shows 81 percent of registered dietitians agree most people have gaps in their diets that can be filled with vitamins and other dietary supplements. Many include themselves in this group, with 76 percent agreeing that supplement use can address their own diet gaps. Registered dietitians’ actions follow suit, with nine in 10 (96 percent) taking supplements and recommending them to their clients (97 percent).
Which supplements are registered dietitians taking? Most commonly, they are taking a multivitamin (84 percent). RDs also take specialty supplements (64 percent take at least one specialty supplement), such as Omega-3 fish oils (47 percent), herbal or botanical supplements (46 percent) or fiber (22 percent). Over half of registered dietitians take supplements for improved bone health (58 percent) and overall health and wellness (53 percent).
“Registered dietitians know people’s eating habits, and we know that people don’t always eat correctly,” says Leslie Bonci, RD, director of sports medicine nutrition for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and the Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and advisor to the “Life…supplemented” campaign. “A healthy diet works in concert with exercise and responsible use of supplements for a wellness lifestyle. We’re seeing RDs champion these three components to overall wellness.”
Seven in 10 registered dietitians who recommend supplements to their clients report doing so for bone health (72 percent) and to fill nutrition gaps (69 percent).
According to Ms. Bonci the opportunity for registered dietitians to introduce the three pillars of health (healthy diet + dietary supplements + exercise) continues to grow as more consumers focus on wellness. Research shows the need for education about supplement use is significant: Less than one-quarter (23 percent) of RDs agree that their clients have a good understanding of the recommended daily intake of dietary supplements. “Registered dietitians can help fill the education gap for their clients,” she said.
A good way to start the conversation with a registered dietitian is to visit www.lifesupplemented.org and take “My Wellness Scorecard.” It’s a free, fast, fun interactive wellness quiz that helps identify realistic and personalized steps people can take toward better health. Ms. Bonci recommends that individuals take their results to their registered dietitian or other healthcare professional to develop a wellness regimen that works for them.
Methodology: Results from the 2009 “Life…supplemented” HCP Impact Study went public in December 2009 and comprise three separate surveys – (300) nurse practitioners, (300) pharmacists and (300) registered dietitians. Seventy-four percent of RDs taking the study identified themselves as members of the American Dietetic Association, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Margins of sampling error at a 95 percent confidence level are +/- 5.7 percentage points for each of the groups of healthcare professionals surveyed. A nominal honorarium was given to each healthcare professional completing the survey. Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the survey online. The first “Life…supplemented” HCP Impact Study of primary care physicians, OB/GYNs and nurses was conducted online in November 2007. The second study of cardiologists, orthopaedic specialists and dermatologists was conducted online in September 2008.
About the “Life…supplemented” HCP Impact Study: The study is part of the “Life… supplemented” consumer wellness campaign, which is dedicated to driving awareness about the mainstream use of dietary supplements as an integral part of a proactive personal wellness regimen that combines healthy diet, supplements and exercise. The study evaluates the personal attitudes and use of dietary supplements by healthcare professionals and whether their attitudes toward supplements affect their clinical behavior and recommendations to patients. The “Life…supplemented” campaign is managed by the CRN Foundation, an educational affiliate of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry. For more information: www.lifesupplemented.org.
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