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March / April 2024



AJHE: American Journal of Health Education

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  March-April 2024 (Volume 55, Issue 2)

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Table of Contents

Free Access Article
Trends in Complementary Health Approach Use Among U.S. College Students: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analytic Comparison, 2012–2023

– Amy Versnik Nowak, Cassaundra Mohawk, Amy Harris, and Carrie Warmka

Background: People seek complementary health approaches (CHAs) for a variety of health reasons, and high rates of CHA use among U.S. college students have been reported.

Purpose: Based on a 2012 study, researchers assessed trends in college CHA use by conducting an updated systematic review of studies published between June 2011–December 2022.

Methods: For eight studies that met inclusion/exclusion criteria, weighted means were used to report CHA use, and changes in CHA use between two time points (2012 and 2023) were determined using Chi-square and Pearson’s r.

Results: Overall CHA use in the past 12 months was 69.7%, and the most commonly used CHAs were NVNM/herbal medicine (55.8%), relaxation techniques (53%), supplements (42.3%), and yoga (37%). Statistically significant (p < .01) increases were shown for NVNM/herbal medicine (+25.2%, r = 0.23), yoga (+19.3%, r = 0.19), and meditation (+10.8%, r = 0.10). Use of megavitamins significantly (p < .01) decreased by 19% (r = 0.20), compared to 2012 data.

Discussion: Future research on college student CHA use needs to be comprehensive and consistent.

Translation to Health Education Practice: Certified Health Education Specialists should study and understand trends in CHA use to educate students on the efficacy of CHAs for whole person health.


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A Case-Control Study of Cognitive Factors Affecting Colorectal Cancer Screening Participation in 50-70-Year-Old Iranian Adults


Positive Feeding Practices During Childhood are Associated with Higher Intuitive Eating in Adulthood


Trends in Complementary Health Approach Use Among U.S. College Students: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analytic Comparison, 2012-2023