CAM USE MOST LIKELY IN MIDDLE AGE
Middle-aged people are more likely than younger or older individuals to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for health maintenance, according to a Wake Forest University School of Medicine study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Aging and Health. The study is the first to estimate age-related differences in whether CAM is used for treatment of an existing health condition or for illness prevention.
The researchers carried out a survey on 20 types of CAM medicine divided into four categories: Alternative medical systems (acupuncture, naturopathy, homeopathy); biologically based therapies (folk medicine, herb use, megavitamins); body-based methods (massage, chiropractic); and mind-body interventions (meditation, yoga).
“A greater percentage of midlife adults, principally those aged 45 to 54, used at least one CAM modality within each of the major categories in the past year than did younger or older adults,” wrote lead investigator Joseph Grzywacz, Ph.D. “Midlife adults entered adulthood at a time of more widespread use of CAM in the population and when public health policy was shifting toward individual responsibility for health and health promotion.”
Data results were drawn from 31,044 participants in the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, a national sample conducted annually by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The study sought to determine distinct types of CAM in terms of age-related usage (no usage, for treatment only, for prevention only, for both treatment and prevention). About 40 percent of adults between the ages of 35 and 64 reported they use CAM for either treatment, illness prevention or both.
“Some types of CAM, such as alternative medicine systems (acupuncture), are used primarily for treating existing conditions,” Grzywacz said. “Others, such as mind-body interventions (meditation, yoga) are used primarily for illness prevention.” For more information on CAM for both treatment and health promotion contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.
"Written by Rev. Dr. Richard Browne