Vitamin and supplement use among U.S. adult consumers


The 2017 MARS Consumer Health Study helps subscribers gain greater efficiency in communicating with their health targets and identify new opportunities to reach various consumer health audiences. This blog post focuses on an audience of interest for many healthcare marketers and advertising agencies: individuals taking OTC vitamins, supplements, minerals or herbals.

Americans spend more than $30 billion a year on dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals and herbal products although studies show they have little benefit. We review how the dietary supplement user approaches health and health information by exploring their varying demographics, media preferences/consumption and general health attitudes.

Attitudes toward alternative treatments

According to the MARS study, 55% of total U.S. adults say they do not seek help from doctors unless they are very ill. However, only 1 in 4 indicate they prefer holistic or alternative approaches to standard medical treatment and this belief tends to significantly decline with age. For example, only 19% of adults ages 55+ prefer alternative approaches to standard medical practices.

Yet many U.S. adults report taking a dietary supplement in the last 12 months (63%) and over half (56%) believe that vitamins and nutritional supplements make a difference in long term health.

Do users of supplements believe in their benefit?

Among users of dietary supplements, a gap exists where many are failing to believe in the benefit on their long-term health. 1 in 3 users are neutral or disagree that vitamins and nutritional supplements make a difference:

Who are the adults using vitamins/supplements?

Nearly half (48%) of supplement/vitamin users hold a college degree or higher and they earn a higher annual household income than the average adult. The majority of users are women (57%).

Vitamin and supplement users are making a greater overall effort to improve and maintain their health.

Although vitamin/supplement users demonstrate proactive behavior when it comes to improving or maintaining their health, they suffer from various conditions (including chronic conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis and high cholesterol).

About the study

Kantar Media’s 2017 MARS Consumer Health Study is a trusted information source for reaching different patient groups and uncovering deep consumer insights. It provides stable and reliable media and healthcare data that is projectable to the U.S. population to better meet the needs of agencies, marketers, healthcare facilities, insurers and media companies. The study contains detailed information among U.S. adults including online and offline media usage for 100+ consumer magazines, newspapers and health-related publications as well as TV, radio, and internet usage.

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