US Insights

Vitamins, Supplements Have a Healthy Hold on US Consumers

Meghan Bazaman

Research Analyst

Health 08.08.2017 / 10:00


More than half of adults take vitamins to treat a range of issues.

Americans spend more than $30 billion a year on dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals and herbal products. However, studies show they have little benefit. We decided to take a look at 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 2017 MARS Consumer Health Study, 55% of American 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. 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 adults in the US report taking a dietary supplement in the last 12 months (63%) and more than half (56%) believe that vitamins and nutritional supplements make a difference in long term health.

Belief in the benefits?

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's using vitamins and 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).

Top 5 Conditions being treated

Source: Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

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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