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Use of dietary supplements among gym trainees in Tanta city, Egypt

Abo Ali, Ehab A.; Elgamal, Hanan H.

The Journal Of The Egyptian Public Health Association: December 2016 - Volume 91 - Issue 4 - p 185–191
doi: 10.1097/01.EPX.0000511736.22873.57
Original articles

Background The use of dietary supplements has greatly increased in the past few years. Few studies described the prevalence of supplement use among gym trainees. The practices of most of the athletes and gym trainees in Egypt remain undocumented. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of dietary supplement use among gyms trainees in Tanta city, Egypt.

Participants and methods A cross-sectional comparative study was carried out on 450 gym trainees aged more than or equal to 20 years in Tanta city, Egypt. Nine representative gyms (50 participants from each) were recruited in the study. Data on sociodemographic characteristics, health and lifestyle characteristics, type, underlying motive(s), and source(s) of information about dietary supplements were collected from each participant.

Results Of the 450 participants, 38.2% reported using dietary supplements. Male participants and those with higher family incomes used dietary supplements more than female participants and those with lower family incomes (P<0.05). Female participants used vitamins/minerals, weight loss, and natural groups of dietary supplements more than male participants (P<0.05), whereas male participants used body-building group of supplements more than female participants (P<0.05). Participants of older ages (≥30) tended to use the natural group of dietary supplements more than younger ones (P<0.05). Female participants were more motivated to use dietary supplements for the prevention of nutritional and/or medical problems and for weight loss, whereas male participants used dietary supplements for muscle building/repair (P<0.05). Female participants mostly got their information about dietary supplements from health professionals and from the media more than male participants, whereas male participants got this information mainly from gym personnel.

Conclusion and recommendation A considerable proportion of gym trainees use dietary supplements, mostly without professional consultation and frequently without any indication. It is very important to disseminate accurate information on these products in the sports environment.

aDepartment of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

bDepartment of Exercise and Sports Show, Faculty of Physical Education, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt

Correspondence to Ehab A. Abo Ali, MD, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta 31511, Egypt Tel: +20 100 153 2068; fax: +200403407734; e-mail:

Received November 13, 2016

Accepted December 13, 2016

© 2016 Egyptian Public Health Association
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