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Diet and Physical Activity Among Adolescents Who Take Supplements

Armen Hareyan's picture

Adolescents who take multiple-vitamin supplements also tend to follow more healthful dietary and lifestyle behaviors than those who do not take vitamins, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Minnesota.

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The researchers looked at the use of multiple-vitamin supplements among 2,761 12th-graders who participated in the fourth Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Healthy (CATCH) study, compared with the adolescents' weight, food intakes, physical activity and lifestyle behaviors.

The researchers found 25 percent of the adolescents reported using multiple-vitamin supplements. They tended to have higher average daily intakes of most food groups than those who did not use supplements, but ate less total fat and saturated fat. Supplement users were also more likely to be physically active, have more healthful diets and participate in team and organized sports, and were less likely to be overweight and to watch more than an hour of television per day.

While concluding that "adolescents may benefit from taking vitamin/mineral supplements to augment dietary intakes that are inadequate," the researchers add: "Supplements are not substitutes for healthful dietary patterns, and adolescents should be encouraged to adopt healthful patterns rather than rely on dietary supplementation for adequate nutrient intake."