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Dietary supplement education in a senior population

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DOI: 10.4236/ojim.2011.13015    4,982 Downloads   8,264 Views Citations


Background: Dietary supplements are widely used among United States senior citizens for various indications. Potential dangers with supplement use include the lack of regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the possibility for drug-supplement interactions. Senior focused education may increase the safe use of dietary supplements by older adults. Objective: The primary objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a pharmacist driven educational seminar in a local senior population. Methods: Participants aged 55 years and older in one of three senior programs were eligible for inclusion. Initially, a needs-assessment interview was conducted at a health fair. At that time, interviews focusing on dietary supplement use were delivered to study participants. Following the health fair, interview responses were analyzed to determine the most commonly used dietary supplements. During the second phase of the project, an educational seminar focusing on general dietary supplement information and the most commonly used supplements in the phase one population was created and delivered. Pre- and post-surveys were administered at the seminar to gauge baseline knowledge and impact of pharmacist education. Additionally, results were analyzed for any change in attitudes about dietary supplements. Results: Forty-nine participants were interviewed about their use of dietary supplements at the initial health fair. Among these participants, 81.6% were taking at least one supplement. The most commonly used supplements were calcium (n = 23), multivitamins (n = 22), fish oil (n = 13), and vitamin B (n = 12). Approximately 180 participants attended the subsequent educational seminar. Knowledge statistically significantly improved from baseline for all six questions posed to study participants. Overall, the program was well received and attitudes about dietary supplements changed as a result of viewing the seminar. Conclusions: Dietary supplements were commonly used by the study population for various indications. Education by pharmacists is an effective method to increase knowledge and awareness about dietary supplements among this population.

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Elder, K. and Nisly, S. (2011) Dietary supplement education in a senior population. Open Journal of Internal Medicine, 1, 72-76. doi: 10.4236/ojim.2011.13015.

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