Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 93, Issue 6, pp 426–430 | Cite as

Natural Health Product Use in Canada

  • Leticia Troppmann
  • Timothy JohnsEmail author
  • Katherine Gray-Donald


Objective: To quantify patterns of Natural Health Product (NHP) use in Canada.

Methods: The Food Habits of Canadians surveyed 1,543 Canadian adults using a 24-hour recall to record dietary supplements. Prevalence of use by user profile was examined.

Results: Forty-six percent of women and 33% of men reported taking at least one Natural Health Product with a mean of 2.3 among users. The highest prevalence of supplement use, 57%, occurred among women aged 50–65. Supplement users were older, less likely to smoke and perceived their health as better than non-users. Among supplement users, men had higher rates of use of garlic and vitamin C while women used iron, calcium, B complex, evening primrose oil and glucosamine sulfate.

Discussion: Supplement use by Canadians, at 38% for nutrients and 15% for herbal products, was similar to the rate of uses in the U.S., although differences in the reporting of types of supplements underline aspects of consumer behaviour as well as methodological issues specific to NHPs. Investigation of the use of NHPs in the healthcare setting is important given the widespread use and the potential health care consequences associated with supplement use.


Objectif: Quantifier l’apport en produits de santé naturels (PSN) au Canada.

Méthodes: L’enquête d’habitudes alimentaires des Canadiens a mesuré l’apport de suppléments alimentaires sur 1 543 Canadiens rappelés sur une période de 24 heures. La prédominance de l’usage des suppléments était examinée.

Résultats: Quarante-six pour cent des femmes et 33% des hommes ont rapporté au moins un produit de santé naturel, avec une moyenne de 2,3 parmi les usagers. La plus haute prévalence d’utilisation de suppléments, 57%, a été reportée par les femmes âgées entre 50 et 65 ans. Ceux qui prenaient des suppléments étaient plus âgés, moins portés à fumer et ont perçu leur état de santé comme étant meilleur que les non utilisateurs. Parmi les utilisateurs de suppléments, les hommes avaient un plus haut taux d’utilisation d’ail et de vitamine C, alors que les femmes utilisaient le fer, le calcium, le complexe B, la primevère du soir et le sulfate de glucosamine.

Discussion: L’utilisation de suppléments de 38% pour les nutriments et de 15% pour les produits à base de plantes par les Canadiens est similaire au taux d’utilisation aux États-Unis, quoique les différences dans le rapport des types de suppléments soulignent les aspects de comportement du consommateur ainsi que les difficultés méthodologiques spécifiques aux PSN. L’investigation de l’utilisation des PSN dans le système de la santé est importante à évaluer étant donné l’utilisation répandue et les risques potentiels associés à l’utilisation de suppléments. Coming Events / Activités à venire


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leticia Troppmann
    • 1
  • Timothy Johns
    • 1
  • Katherine Gray-Donald
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Dietetics and Human NutritionMcGill UniversitySte. Anne de BellevueCanada

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