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Dietary Supplement Use among Children Whose Parents Work at National Research Centre: A Pilot Study

Sallam et al., Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, doi:10.12691/jfnr-11-1-10
Jan 2023  
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Survey of dietary supplementation showing high usage, and greater use by more highly educated people.
The survey covered 200 children whose parents were employees of a research center in Egypt, showing 50% prevalence of supplementation during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The most frequently used supplements were vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D.
Supplementation was highest for parents with post-graduate degrees (79%), and the most common source of advice was physicians (71%). Authors caution that some parents were unfamiliar with potential harm from excessive supplementation.
This study includes vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin C.
Sallam et al., 30 Jan 2023, Egypt, peer-reviewed, survey, 8 authors, study period December 2020 - March 2021.
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Dietary Supplement Use among Children Whose Parents Work at National Research Centre: A Pilot Study
Sara F Sallam, Amal Hassanien, Hala H El Ashry, Amina H. Awad, Iman H Kamel, Nihad H Ahmed, Alshaimaa F. Kamal, Saneya A. Wahba
Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, doi:10.12691/jfnr-11-1-10
Background: Dietary supplements use is increasing globally especially during confinement, with particular reference to vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc. Aim: To assess dietary supplements use and its association with sociodemographic factors among children whose parents work at National Research Centre Cairo, Egypt. Method: An online cross-sectional study was carried out among 200 children < 19 years old whose parents are working at NRC (87 mother and 19 father). An online questionnaire was prepared to elucidate dietary supplements use during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, from December 2020 to March 2021. Results: Overall prevalence of Dietary supplements consumption was (99\200 =49.5%) with no sex difference.DS were used significantly more often by children whose parents are highly educated or related to those working in the scientific sector. The most frequently used supplements as reported by parents were vitamin C (81.5%), zinc (53.8%) and vitamin D (46.9%). More than one third of children had iron and calcium supplement (36.9% and 35.4% respectively). No significant difference was found between supplementation and body mass index.DS were used to improve health (58.5%) and improve immunity (40.6%) with either physician or pharmacist advice. DS was taken with and without medical prescription. more than 20% of respondents are not aware that DS have side effects. Conclusion: Parental education is essential as regards to Dietary supplements use either for their children or for themselves.
Limitations The present study experienced some difficulties and in turn limitations. Sample size is small as it is the first online study to be performed among NRC committee during the lock down period where people were still in the shock stage unable to perform and work. However, we hope to expand such study to be performed among children in another study enrolling larger numbers. Conflict of Interest None. Finally, this research paper is dedicated to the soul of Professor Amal Hassanien who worked a lot to start this research and didn't have chance to see its finalization, May her soul rest in peace.
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