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Can Fam Physician. 2013 Aug;59(8):e372-8.

Use of natural health products in children: qualitative analysis of parents' experiences.

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Memorial University of Newfoundland, Primary Healthcare Research Unit, Health Science Centre, Agnes Cowan Hostel, 300 Prince Phillip Dr, St John's, NL A1B 3V6, Canada.



To gain a more thorough understanding of why parents choose to give their children natural health products (NHPs), parents' sources of information about NHPs, and the extent of disclosure and conversation with family doctors about the use of NHPs.


Qualitative study.


Newfoundland and Labrador.


Parents of children who were using NHPs (N = 20).


Individual, semistructured interviews were carried out with parents to obtain a better understanding of the reasoning behind the use of NHPs. Key themes emerging from the qualitative data were identified according to a number of criteria, including relevance to the research objectives, frequency with which a theme was mentioned, relative importance of the themes based on the amount of text taken up to address an issue, and emphasis (eg, emphatic or emotional speech).


The types of NHPs used by parents participating in this study varied, except for the use of multivitamins. In addition, use of the products themselves was variable and inconsistent. Parents reported few concerns about the use of NHPs. The most commonly reported source of information about NHPs was family and friends. Most participants had not spoken to their family doctors about the use of NHPs.


Participants considered NHPs to be "natural" and seemed to equate this assessment with safety. This might explain why these parents sought advice and information from family and friends rather than from their family doctors and often failed to disclose the use of NHPs to their children's family doctors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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