Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.48(4) > 1081404

J Nutr Health. 2015 Aug;48(4):352-363. Korean.
Published online August 31, 2015.
© 2015 The Korean Nutrition Society
Use of vitamin and mineral supplements and related variables among university students in Seoul
Jung-Hwa Choi,1 and Youjin Je2
1Department of Food and Nutrition, Soongeui Womens' College, Seoul 100-751, Korea.
2Department of Food and Nutrition, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. tel: +82-2-961-0258, Email:
Received May 07, 2015; Revised May 28, 2015; Accepted July 23, 2015.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



Despite the popularity of dietary supplements, little data are available on their use by university students. The purpose of this study was to examine the use of vitamin mineral supplements and to identify factors related to supplement use among university students.


University students (N = 345) in Seoul were surveyed. Survey questions included descriptive demographics, types of vitamin and mineral supplements used, health related lifestyle factors, mini dietary assessment, and knowledge and behaviors related to supplement use.


Of university students surveyed, 41% consumed vitamin and mineral supplements. Among the supplement users, multivitamins were the most commonly used dietary supplements (68.6%), followed by vitamin C (31.4%) and calcium (17.1%). In particular, the use of vitamin C and iron supplements was more common in females than males (p < 0.05). For the number of supplements taken daily, 32.1% of supplement users consumed 2 or more supplements; 20% of supplement users had almost no knowledge of the supplements being taken. Based on the results of multivariable logistic regression analysis, supplement use was associated with higher interest in their own health, non-smoker, and supplement use by family (p < 0.05). In addition, supplement use was slightly associated with healthy dietary behavior such as consuming a variety of foods (p = 0.05) and current disease status (p = 0.05).


University students with relatively healthy lifestyles appear to take vitamin and mineral supplements, but they had little knowledge of the supplements. Given high prevalence of dietary supplement use among university students, nutrition education regarding supplement use is needed.

Keywords: vitamins; minerals; dietary supplements; health behavior; university student


Table 1
General characteristics of users and nonusers of vitamin and mineral supplements
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Table 2
Health-related variables of users and nonusers of vitamin and mineral supplements
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Table 3
Mini dietary assessment (MDA) scores of users and nonusers of vitamin and mineral supplements (Mean ± SD)
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Table 4
Factors related to the use of vitamin and mineral supplements by logistic regression
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Table 5
Prevalence of different types of supplements among users
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Table 6
The knowledge of vitamin and mineral supplements and related behaviors among users N (%)
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Table 7
The experience of the effect of vitamin and mineral supplements and opinion of future use among users N (%)
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Table 8
Reasons for taking vitamin and mineral supplements and information sources among supplement users N (%)
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