Boston, MA—A review of relevant data has highlighted some trends in, and pinpointed factors influencing the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among young people. The study, out of Harvard Medical School and parents and kidsBoston University, tracked available statistics to look for factors influencing CAM use in the pediatric population, or those 18 years old and younger.

They found that within that age group, adolescents are much more likely to take alternative medicine than infants or toddlers. Interestingly, they also found that pediatric CAM users were significantly more likely to live on the West Coast. CAM users were also found in greater numbers in the Midwest and Northeast, as compared to those living in the South. Equal CAM use was found between boys and girls, and there was a higher prevalence of use in non-Hispanic white populations than other racial demographics.

Pediatric CAM users are more likely to have parents with college educations and it was found that parents who themselves partake in alternative medicine seem to be making the same decision for their kids. The statistics, taken from a 2007 National Health Interview Survey, indicate that young people use CAM particularly for anxiety conditions mushroom wisdomand stress, dermatological and musculoskeletal conditions, and sinusitis. An estimated 11.8% of children in the United States, or upwards of eight million, use CAM, with a combined $149 million being spent in the United States on CAM therapies and remedies during the year statistics were gathered.


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, March 2010