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An Innovative Dietary Supplement Scorecard for Assessing Risk

Rittenhouse, Melissa PhD, RD, CSSD; Kegel, Jessica MA; Attipoe, Selasi MA; Deuster, Patricia PhD, MPH, FASM

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000380
Clinical Nutrition
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Individuals often use dietary supplements (DSs) to enhance performance without knowing the potential dangers. Therefore, Operation Supplement Safety developed a safety rating scorecard to help individuals independently assess DS, by using 7 simple criteria. Dietary supplements that met at least 4 of the 7 criteria were classified as “less risky” compared with those scoring less than 4. We assessed the accuracy and reliability of a DS safety rating scorecard, when coupled with a DS educational session. Adults with a mean age of 46 years attended two sessions. Session I included a general overview of DS, education on DS safety, and instructions on how to use the DS scorecard. Participants then independently scored 12 DSs. During session II, participants rescored the same 12 DSs and participated in a focus group. Completed DS scorecards were analyzed for accuracy and reliability both between participants and across sessions. More than 86% of participants correctly classified the DSs using the scorecard. When provided a brief session on DS education, participants could reliably use the scorecard to correctly classify DSs as “risky” or “less risky.” Education is key for assisting individuals to make more informed decisions about DSs.

Melissa Rittenhouse, PhD, RD, CSSD, is a nutritionist/exercise scientist at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc, and assistant professor at Uniformed Services University's Consortium of Health and Military Performance (CHAMP).

Jessica L. Kegel, MA, is a biostatistician at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, in support of the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP).

Selasi Attipoe, MA, is currently pursuing a doctorate in Public Health at the Ohio State University. She served in various research, supervisory, and leadership roles at the CHAMP prior to beginning her doctorate.

Patricia A. Deuster, PhD, MPH, FACSM, directs the Consortium for Health and Military Performance at the Uniformed Services University where she oversees multiple research and educational efforts related to human performance.

The opinions and assertions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Uniformed Services University or the Department of Defense.

The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or policies of The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. Mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations does not imply endorsement by the US Government.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Melissa Rittenhouse PhD, RD, CSSD, or Patricia A. Deuster, PhD, MPH, FACSM, Uniformed Services University's Consortium of Health and Military Performance, 4301 Jones Bridge Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814 (melissa.rittenhouse.ctr@usuhs.edu; patricia.deuster@usuhs.edu).

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