Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Home Economics

First Advisor

Edna Page Anderson


A 1972 national survey conducted for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documented the pervasiveness of food faddism in the U.S. Among a randomly selected sample, fifty-two percent of the people had used vitamin or mineral supplements at some time during their lives. Ten percent of the sample, representing ten percent of the American population, believed that there are benefits to taking more vitamins than are normally needed. Three fourths of the sample believed that vitamins provide energy, and that feeling tired and run down indicates a probable need for more vitamins. One fifth believed that cancer and arthritis are partly caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Over one-third of the sample had fallacious ideas concerning weight reduction and control. Six percent of the sample, or eight million adults, had followed one or more questionable weight reduction practices. One tenth had eaten health foods on one or more occasions, and a majority of the health food users expected to be “helped” by the health food. The American public is concerned about health. People will go to great lengths to prevent contracting the diseases common to Western society, including lobbying Congress to legalize the-sale of megadoses of vitamins and minerals. The desire to find an easy way to obtain or maintain good health is a problem, because it makes people vulnerable to the unscrupulous promotion of nutritional products or food fads. Some of the products and dietary aids are harmless; many have proven ineffective. Americans, especially the elderly and the poor, are economically exploited by those offering the hope of a miracle cure or instant slimness through expensive dietary products. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between food faddism, critical thinking ability and nutrition knowledge. A secondary purpose was to determine possible relationships between these variables and selected demographic characteristics.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dietary supplements
Food habits



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State