The influences of gender, ethnicity, and sport of varsity athletes on their vitamin/mineral supplementation habits were examined. Subjects included 145 females and 266 males from 22 varsity teams; 80% were Caucasian; 12% African American; and 8% Combined-Other. Over half of the subjects took supplements. Males were more likely than females to give "too expensive" as a reason for not taking supplements, and "improve athletic performance" and "build muscle" as reasons for taking supplements. The most common supplement was multivitamins plus minerals. Females were more likely to take calcium and iron, and males vitamins B 12 and A. African Americans were the most likely to take vitamin A. Males were more likely to get supplement information from nutritionists/dietitians and self, and females from family members or friends and physicians or pharmacists. Football players were more likely to get supplement information from nutritionists/dietitians, and males in other sports from coaches/trainers. There were some differences in vitamin/mineral supplement habits of the athletes by gender, ethnicity, and sport.
The authors are with the Department of Nutritional Science and Dietetics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583.