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Prev Med. 2002 Jan;34(1):51-7.

Association between use of complementary/alternative medicine and health-related behaviors among health fair participants.

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Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, USA.



The relationship between complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and standard preventive care is not well defined.


We surveyed 1,593 health fair participants on their use of CAM and determined odds ratios for standard preventive care and healthy behaviors among users of provider-based CAM (e.g., chiropractic) and users of herbs or supplements.


Users of provider-based CAM were no less likely than nonusers to receive standard preventive care, with the exception of lower likelihood of influenza vaccination among elderly CAM users (OR 0.2). Herbs or supplements were used by a majority of respondents (61%), and users were more likely to report engaging in healthy behaviors such as eating a low-fat diet (OR 1.5) and taking a daily multivitamin (OR 2.0).


Those who use alternative therapies, including herbs or supplements, appear no less likely overall than nonusers to receive standard preventive care. In addition, users of herbs or supplements are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors and appear to be a more health-conscious group. Overall, our findings support the notion that unconventional therapies are more complementary than alternative to standard preventive care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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