Knowledge and attitudes towards vitamin / mineral supplements in patients admitted to the family medicine outpatient clinics
Background and Aim: The variety of vitamin/mineral supplements and their usage among people has increased in the last decades. Although using vitamin/mineral supplements (VMS) is beneficial, high levels of VMS intake can also have harmful effects as a result of misuse. This study aimed to investigate the knowledge and attitudes of patients applying to family medicine outpatient clinics about vitamin/mineral supplements.
Methods: The present study was conducted with consecutive patients who were admitted to the family medicine outpatient clinic in our hospital two months’ period and who gave their consent to join the study.A semi-structured questionnaire consisting of 13 questions about sociodemographic features, knowledge, attitudes and perceptions on vitamins and minerals were applied to the participants. The answers to the questionnaire were analyzed by statistical methods using NCSS 2007 package program.
Results: Among 156 participants, a total of 129 participants aged between 18-62 years and consisting of 54 women and 75 men had filled out the questionnaire completely and were included to the study. Around 76% were at least high school graduates.Overweight and obese patients were 41.8%.Among those who used regular VMS (29,5%;n=38);women were more than men (p=0,021); educational status and being overweight or obese did not affect the use of VMS. The most frequently used VMS were vitamin D (%50),iron (%29),vitamin B12 (%21) and vitamin C (%16). Women were more aware of VMS use for treatment purposes than men (p=0,029).Most of the participants thought that consulting a doctor (90.6%) and performing blood tests (86.9%) were necessary before taking VMS. Among participants who were aware of hazards of excess vitamins (76.2%) high school and university of graduates were more (p=0,037).The participants reported that they obtained information about vitamin/mineral supplements from healthcare professionals (60.5%) mostly followed by radio/television(41.9%), newspapers and magazines(34.9%), friends and relatives(14.7%) respectively. Women who stated that they obtained information from the healthcare professionals were more than men(p=0,001).
Conclusion: Awareness about VMS was high in our study group, and it was especially evident in women and those with a high education level. More women than men obtained information from healthcare professionals about VMS which may be related to the frequent use of healthcare services among women. We think that increasing the awareness of patients about the use of vitamin/mineral supplements will improve public health and for this purpose, planning comprehensive and multi-centered studies as well as educational activities will be beneficial.
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