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Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, oils, herbs and other nutritive and non-nutritive supplements. These are also referred to as 'complementary medicines,' and the many thousands of these various products are regulated within Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
In 2011-12, 29% of Australians reported taking at least one dietary supplement on the day prior to interview. Females were more likely than males to have had a dietary supplement (33% and 24% respectively), with the highest proportion of consumers in the older age groups. Almost half (49%) of women aged 71 years and over had taken a supplement, as had 44% of the 51-70 year old women see Table 11.1.
Half (50%) of the people who had taken a supplement had only taken one type of supplement, with around one-quarter (26%) taking two different supplements and another quarter (24%) taking three or more different supplements.
Footnote(s): (a) on the day prior to interview.
Source(s): Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Food and Nutrients, 2011-12
Multi-vitamin and/or multi-mineral supplements were the most commonly taken dietary supplements, being consumed by around 16% of the population with Fish oil supplements taken by around 12% of the population see Table 11.1.
Some single vitamin or mineral supplements while taken by relatively low proportions of the population, had particularly high proportion of consumers in some groups. For example, Calcium and Vitamin D were taken by between 3% and 4% of the population overall, but by around 13-14% of women aged 71 years and over see Table 11.1.
Special dietary foods is a food category within the food classification used in the 2011-12 NNPAS, but includes foods such as protein supplements. By weight, 70% of the Special dietary foods consumed were Sport and protein prepared beverages and a further 5% were Sport and protein dry powders see Table 5.3. Overall, 2.9% of the population had consumed Special dietary foods on the day prior to interview, but the rate among young men was considerably higher with 7.8% of the 19-30 year olds consuming a Special dietary food see Table 4.1
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