Predictors of dietary supplement use among female health workers in Tehran



Despite the lack of evidence on the necessity of dietary supplements to meet nutrients requirements, the majority of people use them all over the world. This study aimed to investigate factors associated with supplement use in women who work in health centers in the city of Tehran.


Five hundred sixty three female health workers participated in a cross-sectional study carried out in 2010 in health centers of Tehran. Weight, height, and waist circumference were measured and body mass index was calculated. Data on demographic characteristics, lifestyle, and dietary supplement use were collected by interviewing. The analysis was conducted using univariate and multivariate logistic regression (MLR) in SPSS version 16.


The prevalence of dietary supplement use was 53.8%. In univariate logistic regression model, age, education, husband’s education, duration of employment, and tendency for changing weight at the time of the study were statistically significant predictors (P < 0.05). After MLR analysis, education (OR: 1.11, 95% CI: 1.05-1.17) and duration of employment (OR: 1.04, 95% CI: 1.02-1.06) remained significant in the model. Women with higher education and longer duration of employment had more tendency to use nutrient supplements.


Our findings showed that education and duration of employment were the most important predictors for taking dietary supplements in this population.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Gahche J, Bailey R, Burt V, et al. NCHS data brief. In Dietary Supplement Use Among U.S. Adults Has Increased Since NHANES III (1988–1994). Volume 61. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2011.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Connera M, Kirkb S, Cadeb J, Barrett J: Why do women use dietary supplements? The use of the theory of planned behaviour to explore beliefs about their use. Soc Sci Med 2001, 52: 621–633. 10.1016/S0277-9536(00)00165-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Gordon NP, Schaffer DM: Use of dietary supplements by female seniors in a large Northern California health plan. BMC Geriatr 2005, 5: 4. 10.1186/1471-2318-5-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Prentice RL: Clinical trials and observational studies to assess the chronic disease benefits and risks of multivitamin-multimineral supplements. Am J Clin Nutr 2007,85(1):308S-313S.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Kirk S, Cade JE, Barrett J, Conner M: Diet and lifestyle characteristics associated with dietary supplement use in women. Public Health Nutr 1999,2(1):69–73.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Morris MS, Sakakeeny L, Jacques PL, Picciano MF, Selhub J: Vitamin B-6 intake is inversely related to, and the requirement is affected by. Inflammation Status J Nutr 2010, 140: 103–110.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Bailey RL, Dodd KW, Gahche JJ, et al.: Total folate and folic acid intake from foods and dietary supplements in the United States: 2003–2006. Am J Clin Nutr 2010, 91: 231–237. 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28427

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Wang JJ, Smith W, Cumming RG, Mitchell P: Variables determining perceived global health ranks: findings from a population-based study. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2006, 35: 190–197.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Robson PJ, Siou GL, Ullman R, Bryant HE: Sociodemographic, health and lifestyle characteristics reported by discrete groups of adult dietary supplement users in Alberta, Canada: findings from the tomorrow project. Public Health Nutr 2008,11(12):1238–1247. 10.1017/S136898000800219X

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Ock SM, Hwang SS, Lee JS, Song CH, Ock CM: Dietary supplement use by South Korean adults: Data from the national complementary and alternative medicine use survey (NCAMUS) in 2006. Nutr Res Pract 2010,4(1):69–74. 10.4162/nrp.2010.4.1.69

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Suleiman AA, Alboqai OK, Yasein N, Al-Essa MK, El Masri K: Prevalence of vitamin-mineral supplement use among Jordan University students. Saudi Med J 2008,29(9):1326–1331.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Knudsen VK, Rasmussen LB, Haraldsdottir J: Use of dietary supplements in Denmark is associated with health and former smoking. Public Health Nutr 2001,5(3):463–468.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Kirk SFL, Cade JE, Barrett JH, Conner M: Diet and lifestyle characteristics associated with dietary supplement use in women. Public Health Nutr 1999, 2: 69–73.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Foote JA, Murphy SP, Wilkens LR, et al.: Factors associated with dietary supplement use among healthy adults of five ethnicities. Am J Epidemiol 2003, 157: 888–897. 10.1093/aje/kwg072

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Frank E, Bendich A, Denniston M: Use of vitamin-mineral supplements by female physicians in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr 2000, 72: 969–975.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Spencer EH, Bendich A, Frank E: Vitamin and mineral supplement use among US medical students: A longitudinal study. J Am Diet Assoc 2006,106(12):1975–1983. 10.1016/j.jada.2006.09.003

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Radimer K, Bindewald B, Hughes J, Ervin B, Swanson C, Picciano MF: Dietary supplement use by US adults: data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2000. Am J Epidemiol 2004,160(4):339–349. 10.1093/aje/kwh207

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Ervin RB, Wright JD, Kennedy-Stephenson J: Use of dietary supplements in the United States, 1988–1994. Vital Health Stat. 1999, 244: 1–14.

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Lyle BJ, Mares-Perlman JA, Klein BEK, Klein R, Greger JL: Supplement users differ from nonusers in demographic, lifestyle, and dietary and health characteristics. J Nutr 1998, 128: 2355–2362.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Houston DK, Johnson MA, Daniel TD, et al.: Health and dietary characteristics of supplement users in an elderly population. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1997, 67: 183–191.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Nayge RM, Reed DB: Factors associated with the intake of dietary supplements. Fam Econ Nutr Rev 1999, 12: 43–48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Kato K, Nomura A, Stemmermann G, Chyou P: Vitamin supplement use and its correlates among elderly Japanese men residing on Oahu. Hi. Public Health Report 1992,106(7):712–717.

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Dana Fennell MA: Determinants of supplement usage. Prev Med 2004, 39: 932–939. 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.03.031

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank all the women who participated in this study. Valuable comments by Dr. Fatemeh Mohammadi are hereby acknowledged.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gity Sotoudeh.

Additional information

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

GS, conceived of the study and revised the manuscript. FB wrote draft of the manuscript. MQ, carried out the statistical analysis. HS, FK and HA participated in its design and revised the manuscript. AR, carried out consultation about the epidemiology. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Baygi, F., Sotoudeh, G., Qorbani, M. et al. Predictors of dietary supplement use among female health workers in Tehran. J Diabetes Metab Disord 12, 26 (2013).

Download citation


  • Dietary supplement
  • Lifestyle
  • Health worker
  • Women
  • Body mass index