Lay Health Knowledge Research:Example of Infants and Children Dietary Supplement

Project: A - Government Institutionb - National Science and Technology Council

Project Details


Taking food supplements to strengthen and improve one’s physical and health condition has become a growing trend in recent years. According to 2002 statistics, Taiwan’s expenditure on dietary supplements totaled NT$23 billion. Notwithstanding the debate about the effects or benefits of dietary supplements or the necessity for people to take them, the misuse of dietary supplements can likely lead to health problems. As infancy and chidlren are the most important stages of human growth and development, the appropriate nutrition for children’s developmental needs is vital. Therefore, this research will focus on the common dietary supplements consumed by infants and children, including probiotics, calcium, multiple vitamins and minerals, cod liver oil, lactoferrin, and DHA/fish oil supplements. The research will also cover infant milk powder and semisolid foods, since these are also promoted as other forms of nutritional supplements. This study will examine four areas: (1) the contents of the health science for infants’ and children’s dietary supplements reported by the Taiwan magazine and electronic media, especially the effects reported by the media and how they convince people recognize those effects; (2) the other channels people use to further their understanding of infant and children dietary supplements, besides magazine advertisements and the Internet; (3) the effects of these dietary supplements proved in the scientific literatures, especially the fact of their benefits to the infants’ and children’s health; (4) the difference of the statements mentioned by the scientific literature, media and general public, and what caused the differences. This research will be conducted over two years, and include: the content analysis of related magazine advertisements and Internet information, In-deep interviews and a review of the scientific literature on infant and children dietary supplements. The aim of the research is to examine how health and nutritional information on dietary supplements is communicated in Taiwan, to help people to better understand and utilize such information, and to ultimately provide a point of reference for the future development of policy on infant and children health and nutrition.
Effective start/end date8/1/127/31/13


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