A Survey on the Consumption of Vitamin and Mineral Supplements as Health Functional Foods and Related Factors by Korean Adolescents

한국 일부 청소년의 건강기능식품용 비타민·무기질 보충제 섭취 실태 및 관련 요인 조사

  • Received : 2013.06.03
  • Accepted : 2013.08.05
  • Published : 2013.08.30


The purpose of this study was to estimate the consumption prevalence of vitamin and mineral supplements as health functional foods (VM-HFF) and to examine the factors associated with VM-HFF consumption behaviors in adolescents. A total of 1,407 adolescents attending middle or high schools from various cities and rural communities in Korea participated in this study. The prevalence of VM-HFF consumption was 41.7%, with boys showing a higher consumption than girls (p<0.01). VM-HFF consumption was higher in families with higher socioeconomic status and for families with parents that exhibited higher concerns about their child's health, growth, and nutritional intake (p<0.001). Most consumers of VM-HFF consumed HFFs 'when healthy' (50.1%), and acquired nutritional information from 'their families & relatives' (50.9%). Most consumers responded that VM-HFF was 'a little effective' (54.3%), followed by 'no obvious effects' (37.1%), and 'very effective' (7.4%). The effectiveness of consuming VM-HFF was mainly for 'fatigue recovery' (39.0%) and 'health improvement' (28.2%). Most consumers purchased HFFs at 'pharmacies & oriental medicine clinics' (53.8%) and at 'health functional food stores' (18.8%). Most consumers 'occasionally' (51.1%) or 'seldom' (27.3%) checked nutrition facts when purchasing, with 58.9% of consumers understanding the nutritional label for 'the most part', but only 8.7% of them understanding it 'very well'. Among the VM-HFF, consumers preferred calcium- and vitamin C-supplements. Consumers' mini-dietary assessment scores were higher than those of non-consumers. The results above showed that VM-HFF consumption was widely spread among adolescents, but few consumers checked and understood the nutrition label when they purchased VM-HFF, and were highly dependent on the advice and information from non-professional nutritionists, such as families & relatives. Therefore, it is necessary to educate adolescents to help them read nutrition labels and select the proper VM-HFF.


Vitamin and mineral supplements;health functional foods;factors;adolescents


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