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Dietary Supplement Intake by 6-month-old Taiwanese Infants

Chuang, Chao-Hua*; Yang, Shwu-Huey; Chang, Pei-Jen; Chen, Pau-Chung§; Chen, Yi Chun

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: January 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 1 - p 71–76
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31822dbafe
Original Articles: Hepatology and Nutrition

Objectives: The objective of the present study was to investigate the types of dietary supplements administered to healthy 6-month-old infants and to identify the factors influencing the use of such supplements.

Subjects and Methods: The present study was based on the Taiwan Birth Cohort Study database. Questionnaires were used to collect information on the use of dietary supplements from birth, infant feeding practices, and other covariates at 6 months of age. We excluded low-birth-weight, preterm babies, and those whose caregivers returned incomplete questionnaires, leaving a sample size of 18,658. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine the characteristics capable of predicting the use of supplements in this population. A total of 34.9% of infants were fed dietary supplements from birth.

Results: The most common types of supplements administered to infants were probiotics, calcium, and multivitamin/mineral supplements. Formula feeding, earlier weaning, and earlier complementary feeding were positively related to the use of several supplements.

Conclusions: The present study demonstrates that the use of pediatric dietary supplements is relatively common among infants in Taiwan, even in the earliest stages of life. For infants whose diet is adequate, no need exists for dietary supplements, and excessive intake can adversely influence health. Communication between health professionals and child caregivers should be promoted to increase understanding of infant feeding, as well as the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements.

*Department of Nursing, Chang Jung Christian University, Tainan County

School of Nutrition and Health Sciences, Taipei Medical University

Department of Nursing, National Taipei College of Nursing

§Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Yi Chun Chen, PhD, School of Nutrition and Health Sciences, Taipei Medical University, No. 250, Wu-Hsing Street, Taipei 110, Taiwan (e-mail:

Received 27 January, 2011

Accepted 14 July, 2011

The present study was based on data from the Taiwan Birth Cohort Study Database and supported by grants (BHP-PHRC-92-4 and DOH93-HP-1702) from the Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health, Taiwan.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2012 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN