Most North Americans use supplements, survey shows

Richard Clarke

April 21, 2009

2 Min Read
Most North Americans use supplements, survey shows

But those who don't, say they are unnecessary and too pricey

More than half of all North American consumers take vitamins and other dietary supplements, according to a survey by Nielsen.

The research found 56 per cent of Americans and 39 per cent of Canadians popped healthy pills regularly — or 54 per cent of all people across both countries. Of those who used supplements, more than three quarters (78 per cent) did so every day, with another 17 per cent taking them two to six times a week.

When asked why they took supplements, 61 per cent of North Americans said it was to ensure their diet was balanced, 55 per cent said it was to boost their immune system and 51 per cent to prevent illness.

The primary benefit of taking vitamins and supplements, according to more than 50 per cent of those surveyed globally, was to boost the immune system, a response most common in Asia.

Of those who said they never consumed dietary supplements, 40 per cent said they deemed them unnecessary, 27 per cent believed they were too expensive and 23 per cent considered themselves to have a balanced diet already.

Fifteen per cent of these respondents said they did not understand what product they should use, while seven per cent said they believed supplements to be harmful to their health.

In terms of individual countries, the highest levels of usage were found in the Philippines and Thailand, where 66 per cent of consumers said they took vitamins.

France and Spain were the countries where usage was the lowest, with just 17 per cent and 13 per cent of consumers, respectively, saying they took supplements. The primary reason for consumers in these countries not taking vitamins was that their diets were already balanced and they saw no need to take them.

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