In This Issue -- Children’s Use of Complementary Health Approaches

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Data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)* found that nearly 12 percent of children aged 4 to 17 years use complementary health approaches, with significant increases in children’s use of yoga, fish oil, and melatonin. The complementary health approach most commonly used by children was natural products (dietary supplements other than vitamins and minerals) at almost one-quarter the adult rate (4.9 percent vs. 17.6 percent).

Studies have looked at many complementary health approaches for children with different conditions, but the evidence generally isn’t strong enough to show what works and what doesn’t. This issue of the digest provides a summary of current research on complementary health approaches and children, and may give you insight into your own patients’ use of these products and practices.

* The complementary health questionnaire was developed by NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (formerly NCCAM) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The questionnaire is administered every 5 years as part of the NHIS, an annual study in which tens of thousands of Americans are interviewed about their health- and illness-related experiences. The 2012 survey results are based on combined data from 17,321 interviews with a knowledgeable adult about children aged 4 to 17 years.



Read more »

What the Science Says:
Children’s Use of Complementary Health Approaches

Learn what current research has to say about:

Bullet Fish Oil/Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Bullet Melatonin

Bullet Mindfulness Meditation

Bullet Yoga

Read more »

Additional Resources

Bullet Clinical Practice Guidelines

Bullet Scientific Literature

Bullet For Your Patients

Bullet 5 Things To Know About Safety of Dietary Supplements for Children and Teens

Bullet 7 Things to Know About Mind and Body Practices for Children and Teens

Bullet 10 Things To Know About Dietary Supplements for Children and Teens

Visit NCCIH’s website to read the full issue of this month’s Clinical Digest

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary and integrative health, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.


NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the NIH. The mission of NCCIH is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and their roles in improving health and health care. For additional information, call NCCIH’s Clearinghouse toll free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH Web site at