Korean J Community Nutr.  2017 Aug;22(4):347-355. 10.5720/kjcn.2017.22.4.347.

Use of Dietary Supplements and Determinants of Taking Dietary Supplements by Gender in the Korean Population: Using the 4(th) Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2009)

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Major of Food and Nutrition, The Catholic University of Korea, Bucheon, Korea. yjsong@catholic.ac.kr


Although dietary supplements use in Korea has been rapidly increasing and women are more likely to take dietary supplements more than men, only a few studies have been conducted to investigate factors contributing to gender differences in dietary supplement use in the Korean population. The aim of this study is to evaluate the prevalence of dietary supplement use and also identify gender-specific key factors that contribute to it using the data of the 4th KNHANES.
Subjects were divided into user and non-user groups according to the answer given to the question that asked whether they had used any dietary supplement for more than 2 weeks on a regular basis during the previous year. Factors related to dietary supplement use were examined by general characteristics, health behavior and eating behavior.
Prevalence of dietary supplement use was 13.6% for men and 20.6% for women. Users were more likely to be middle-aged, have higher income and education, have a spouse, or reside in dong areas in both men and women. Regarding health behaviors, men with desirable lifestyle behavior were more likely to take dietary supplements, while men who smoked were less likely to take dietary supplements. Regarding disease history, both men and women with a current disease had higher odds of taking supplements. With regard to dietary behavior, frequent eating out and nutrition attitude were associated with higher odds of taking supplements in both men and in women.
Health or dietary behavior related factors that were associated with taking supplements differed by gender. These findings can be useful for planning gender-specific dietary education and health programs.


dietary supplements; gender; health behavior; disease history; dietary behavior
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