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Health Promot Perspect. 2018 Jan 7;8(1):33-40. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2018.04. eCollection 2018.

Use of ethnic spices by adults in the United States: An exploratory study.

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Honors College, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA.
College of Health,Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA.


Background: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies has increased in the United States, but little is known about consumers' perceptions of use of such therapies. The purpose of this study was to assess knowledge, perceptions, and predictors of spice use for health promotion among adults in the Midwestern US. Methods: UUsing a cross-sectional study design, adults in the Midwestern US (n = 703) completed a valid and reliable survey which was pilot tested with a small convenience sample of adults (n = 38). The study variables included demographic profile, spice use behavior, perceptions about efficacy of spices, and willingness to use spices. Data were analyzed using SPSS to compute descriptive (e.g. percent and frequencies) and inferential statistics (i.e. logistic regression analyses). Results: Almost half of the participants were interested in learning about health benefits of spices (48%), indicated friends and family members as sources of information on spices (50%),and were willing to use spices as CAM therapies (51%). Most (>50%) of the participants were familiar with or had used eight out of the 10 listed spices. The majority of participants (54%)were currently using one or more spices on a daily basis and believed that ginger (64%), garlic(58%), and cinnamon (56%) could promote good health and wellness. In logistic regression analysis, age, gender (odds ratios [OR] = 1.44 and OR = 1.56), income (OR = 1.77), health status(OR = 2.01), and recommendations from healthcare providers (OR = 5.31 and OR = 3.96) were significant predictors of current spice use and willingness to use spices. Conclusion: Individuals in our study did not use many ethnic spices and were unaware of potential health benefits of spices. Greater awareness of ethnic spices for disease prevention and health promotion are needed in this population.


Complementary Therapies; Consumer Behavior; Diet; Spices

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