Use of complementary/alternative therapies among children in primary care pediatrics

Anju Sawni-Sikand, Howard Schubiner, Ronald L. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


Objectives.-To determine the prevalence of and factors associated with use of complementary/alternative therapies (CAM) by pediatric patients seeking primary care. Design and Setting.-A self-report questionnaire was administered to parents/caregivers in 6 general pediatric practices in urban and suburban Detroit from August 1999 to December 1999. Results.-A total of 1013 questionnaires were completed; 67.5% of the patients were 5 years of age or younger. The overall use of CAM was 12%. Factors in families associated with use of CAM were maternal age greater than 31 years (P = .001), religious affiliations (P = .001), parent/caretaker born outside of the United States (P = .04), and use of CAM by the parent/caretaker or his/her spouse (P = .001). Significant factors associated with the children who used CAM were age greater than 5 years (P = .001), pediatric visit for an illness (P = .05), regular medication use (P = .001), and having an ongoing medical problem (P = .001). The most common types of CAM used were herbs (41%), prayer healing (37%), high-dose vitamin therapy and other nutritional supplements (34.5%), folk/home remedies (28%), massage therapy (19%), and chiropractic (18%). The majority of CAM users (66%) did not report the use of CAM to their primary care physician. A logistic regression analysis revealed that use of CAM by parents/caretakers was the single best predictor of CAM use in a child. Conclusion.-CAM use is significant among children who visit pediatric practices. Pediatricians should inquire about CAM use among patients, particularly those with ongoing medical problems and those with parents/caretakers who use CAM for themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-103
Number of pages5
JournalAmbulatory Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Chiropractic
  • Folk remedies
  • Herbs
  • Massage
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Prayer healing
  • Vitamins


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