The aim of the current study was to establish the health, personal and social factors that influence the use of vitamin/supplements (VS) among college students in Ireland. Ethical approval was obtained from MTU Research Ethics Committee with supervision from Dr Brigid Lucey and Dr Annemarie Burns for the duration of this novel investigation. An online questionnaire was carried out on 495 Irish third level students during March 2021. The questionnaire included enquiries about demographic characteristics, understanding of health, VS use and factors that influence this. VS use was reported by 82.6% of the surveyed population despite it being acknowledged that VS usage is typically higher in older cohorts. It was seen that Vitamin D, multivitamins and iron are used most commonly. This usage was highly influenced by the desire to maintain general health on a personal level and also encouraged more socially by global health threats. Students' use of VS is affected by a broad array of factors. The most common health related factor that influenced VS use was the emerging correlation between Vitamin D and improved COVID-19 prognosis. Recommendations from friends, family and word of mouth proved to be the most influential social factor while on a personal level maintenance of general health was the most impactful factor. This highlights a worrying trend as it is clear a gap exists between medically diagnosed deficiencies and VS usage. Existing knowledge could be enhanced with exposure to additional information and education on this topic for both the consumer and medical professionals.
Faherty, Ellen and Hough, Kelsey
"Analysis of the reasons and extent to which Irish College Students use Vitamins and Supplements in 2021,"
International Undergraduate Journal of Health Sciences: Vol. 1:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://sword.cit.ie/iujhs/vol1/iss2/8