Usage of Plant Food Supplements (PFS) for weight control in six European countries: Results from the PlantLIBRA PFS Consumer Survey 2011-2012

on behalf of the PlantLIBRA PFS Consumer Survey group

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Resumen

Background: Obesity is increasing worldwide and weight-control strategies, including the consumption of plant food supplements (PFS), are proliferating. This article identifies the herbal ingredients in PFS consumed for weight control and by overweight/obese dieters in six European countries, and explores the relationship between their consumption and their self-reported BMI. Methods: Data used were a subset from the PlantLIBRA PFS Consumer Survey 2011-2012, a retrospective survey of 2359 PFS consumers. The survey used a bespoke frequency-of-PFS-usage questionnaire. Analyses were performed in two consumer subsamples of 1) respondents taking the products for "body weight reasons", and 2) "dieters for overweight/obesity", to identify the herbal ingredients consumed for these reasons. The relationship between the 5 most consumed herbal ingredients and self-reported BMI in groups 1 and 2 is explored by comparing BMI proportions of consumers vs. non-consumers (using Chi-squared test). Results: 252 PFS (8.8 %) were consumed for "body weight reasons" (by 240 PFS consumers); 112 PFS consumers (4.8 %) were "dieting for overweight/obesity". Spain is the country where consuming herbal ingredients for body weight control and dieting were most popular. Artichoke was the most consumed herbal ingredient. Considering only the 5 top products consumed by those who responded "body weight", when using the total survey sample, a greater proportion of BMI ≥ 25 was observed among consumers of PFS containing artichoke and green tea as compared to non-consumers (58.4 % vs. 49.1 % and 63.2 % vs. 49.7 % respectively). Considering only the 5 top products consumed by "dieters" and using only the "dieters" sample, a lower proportion of BMI ≥ 25 was observed among pineapple-containing PFS consumers (38.5 % vs. 81.5 %); however, when using the entire survey sample, a greater proportion of BMI ≥ 25 was observed among artichoke-containing PFS consumers (58.4 % vs. 49.1 %). Conclusions: A comparison of results among the scarce publications evaluating the use of weight-loss supplements at the population level is limited. Nevertheless every hint is important in finding out which are the self-treatment strategies used by overweight/obese individuals in European countries. Although limited by a small sample size, our study represents a first attempt at analysing such data in six EU countries. Our findings should encourage the conduction of further studies on this topic, long-term and large sample-sized studies, ideally conducted in the general population.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo254
PublicaciónBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volumen16
N.º1
DOI
EstadoPublicada - 28 jul 2016
Publicado de forma externa

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