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Authors

  1. Rittenhouse, Melissa PhD, RD, CSSD
  2. Kegel, Jessica MA
  3. Attipoe, Selasi MA
  4. Deuster, Patricia PhD, MPH, FASM

Abstract

Individuals often use dietary supplements (DSs) to enhance performance without knowing the potential dangers. Therefore, Operation Supplement Safety developed a safety rating scorecard to help individuals independently assess DS, by using 7 simple criteria. Dietary supplements that met at least 4 of the 7 criteria were classified as "less risky" compared with those scoring less than 4. We assessed the accuracy and reliability of a DS safety rating scorecard, when coupled with a DS educational session. Adults with a mean age of 46 years attended two sessions. Session I included a general overview of DS, education on DS safety, and instructions on how to use the DS scorecard. Participants then independently scored 12 DSs. During session II, participants rescored the same 12 DSs and participated in a focus group. Completed DS scorecards were analyzed for accuracy and reliability both between participants and across sessions. More than 86% of participants correctly classified the DSs using the scorecard. When provided a brief session on DS education, participants could reliably use the scorecard to correctly classify DSs as "risky" or "less risky." Education is key for assisting individuals to make more informed decisions about DSs.