oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Use of dietary supplements, and awareness and knowledge of the recommended fruit and vegetable intakes and consumption of health food store customers in the Cape Town city bowl : original research
Objectives: The objectives of this study were to determine the dietary supplement use and demographic characteristics of customers visiting health food stores in the Cape Town city bowl, and to determine their awareness and knowledge of the recommended fruit and vegetable intake servings and their fruit and vegetable consumption.
Design and setting: A self-administered questionnaire was completed by customers visiting two health food stores in the Cape Town city bowl.
Subjects: Participants were recruited systematically. One hundred and sixteen of the 146 invited customers participated in the survey (79.5%), but the sample consisted of 112 because four questionnaires were not completed fully.
Results: The majority of the sample (81.3%) used supplements, and 79.1% of these were regular users. The demographics of the sample and of the supplement users were mainly female and white, with a higher education, and a younger age. Vitamin (63.2%), mineral (42.5%) and herbal (42.5%) supplements were consumed most. The two main reasons for use were to supplement the diet (68.1%) and to prevent disease (59.3%). A third of the sample (33.0%) was aware of the "5-a-day" concept, while only 21.4% understood the concept. Knowledge of the recommended daily fruit (92.0%) and vegetable (47.3%) intake servings was higher than the awareness of the "5-a-day" concept, although only 65.2% and 14.3% of the respondents consumed the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables respectively.
Conclusions: The demographic profile of the supplement users was similar to that reported in other studies. Knowledge of the recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake servings was higher than the consumption behaviour, as fewer servings were consumed than were indicated should be consumed, especially regarding vegetable intake. More respondents who were aware of the "5-a-day" concept were consuming the recommended intake of five fruit and vegetables servings daily.
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