Why do teenagers use supplements, and where do they get their advice?

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Posted 27 November 2017

We have previously pointed out that USN, a company selling “sports supplements”, targets primary and high school children through it’s allied brand, SportsMax. The school selling the most sports supplements would get a free Bobby van Jaarsveld music concert. We made the point that this was unconscionable behaviour.

A study has been published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, addressing the issue of why teenagers use supplements.

A commentary in NutraIngredients.com, makes the following points:

“Many adolescents use dietary supplements in an attempt to increase sports performance or improve immunity, finds a new study that also suggests supplements are frequently used despite a lack of knowledge about possible harmful effects”

“According to the existing information, adolescents are the most susceptible and misinformed group of customers; thus this population is the target market for dietary supplements” (Lead researcher)

Continue reading at NutraIngredients.com

The study can be found here

Context: the study was conducted in Slovenia and may not be able to be extrapolated to South Africa.

Some points made in the study:

Use of DS was widespread among adolescents (69%), athletes (76%), and nonathletes (66%).

A high percentage of adolescents (41%) decided on their own to use DS and because of advice from parents or relatives (30%).

Reference: Katja Zdešar Kotnik, Gregor Jurak, Gregor Starc, Petra Golja. Faster, Stronger, Healthier: Adolescent-Stated Reasons for Dietary Supplementation. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2017;49(10):817-826.

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