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Acta Médica Costarricense

On-line version ISSN 0001-6002Print version ISSN 0001-6012


GUERRERO-CALDERON, María Fabiola; PACHECO-ARTEAGA, María Amalia; GOMEZ-SALAS, Georgina  and  ELANS, Grupo. Use of nutritional supplements in the Costa Rican urban population. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2019, vol.61, n.3, pp.119-126. ISSN 0001-6002.


Several studies reveal that the profile of nutritional supplement consumers corresponds to individuals with healthy lifestyles and a favorable sociodemographic environment; however, in Costa Rica there is no information regarding nutritional supplement consumption at a national level. This research aimed to analyze the use of nutritional supplement and the sociodemographic, nutritional and anthropometric characteristics of users in the urban Costa Rican population, aged 15 to 65 years.


The data was obtained from the Latin American Nutrition and Health Study (ELANS), an observational, cross-sectional and correlational investigation with a sample of 798 participants. Additionally, a questionnaire was designed and applied by telephone, six months after the first contact with nutritional supplement consumers was made, in order to delve in the characteristics and perceptions regarding the use of these substances.


6% of the population reported nutritional supplement use, mainly multivitamins. No significant differences were found according to sex, age, socioeconomic level, educational level or body mass index. NS nutritional supplement users showed significantly higher intakes of calcium in both sexes, and vitamins C and E in women, compared with non-consumers. The reasons for nutritional supplement consumption were focused on well-being, and although they are perceived as beneficial, in 58% of the cases the use was discontinued after six months.


The prevalence of nutritional supplements consumption was lower than that reported by other studies in the field, with characteristics similar to those described by the literature.

Keywords : Dietary supplements; vitamins; minerals; ELANS..

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