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Food supplement use in the community dwelling population aged 50 and over in the Republic of Ireland.



Subject Keywords: Correlates; Prevalence; Ireland; Elderly; Food supplements; Ageing;

Use of food supplements in the developed world is increasing in all age groups. With older age, the prevalence of multimorbidity and pharmacotherapy increases. Aim was to explore the prevalence of food supplement use among population aged ≥ 50 years in Ireland and to identify factors associated with food supplement use.

Design and setting
Cross-sectional analysis of food supplements and medicines reported during in-home interviews by 8081 community dwelling participants aged ≥ 50 years included in the first wave of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.

The prevalence of regular use of food supplements was 16.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) 15.5–17.7%) and 14.1% (95% CI 13.2–15.1%) reported taking food supplements and medicines concomitantly.

Associate factors for supplement use were being female (odds ratio (OR) 2.65; 95% CI 2.30–3.06), retired (OR 1.49; 95% CI 1.23–1.79), a non-smoker (OR 1.47; 1.21–1.77), having third level or higher education (OR 1.32; 95% CI 1.10–1.57) and living alone (OR 1.37; 1.07–1.76). Possession of private health insurance (OR 1.61; 95% CI 1.23–2.19), reporting three or more chronic conditions (OR 2.56; 95% CI 2.01–3.27) and polypharmacy were also associated factors (OR 2.35; 95% CI 1.85–2.98).

Food supplement use is significant among the elderly in Ireland and increases with age. Its use is associated with having chronic conditions and taking (multiple) medicines, so further study is needed to assess the appropriateness and risks associated with food supplement use and to examine further the factors influencing their differential use by men and women.

Suggested citation:

KENNY, ROSE; HENMAN, MARTIN; . () Food supplement use in the community dwelling population aged 50 and over in the Republic of Ireland. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 20th September 2019].


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