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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

, 14:366

Patterns of use, knowledge and attitudes


BackgroundProbiotic products that may modify the intestinal microbiota are becoming increasingly available and known to consumers due to their potential to prevent or treat many pediatric health conditions. As scientific knowledge of the health benefits of probiotics increases, it is important to identify factors that may prevent their successful integration into patient care as well as to ensure effective translation of research findings. The aim of this study was to describe maternal perspectives on probiotics and their use in infants.

MethodsMothers with a child aged two years or younger enrolled in the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition APrON study were invited by email to complete a 29 item self-administered web-based questionnaire.

ResultsA total of 413 mothers of the 1327 contacted completed the questionnaire. The majority 99.3% of respondents had heard of probiotics and were aware that they contained live bacteria 87.0%; 89.3% had used a product containing probiotics themselves but only 50.8% had given one to their infant. Most mothers indicated they believed that probiotics were beneficial 73.1% and none thought they were harmful. Over a third of mothers did not feel informed enough to make a decision on whether probiotics were safe to use in infants 36.6%.

ConclusionsThe study demonstrates that awareness and understanding of probiotics is high among mothers in Alberta, Canada. However, there is still uncertainty regarding the benefit of probiotics as well as safety in infants which could be important factors determining therapeutic use in the future. Further studies that demonstrate beneficial effects and safety of probiotics in healthy infants as well as targeted knowledge translation should help to address these potential concerns.

KeywordsProbiotics Infant Mother Nutrition Natural health products Cross-sectional survey Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1472-6882-14-366 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Sarah L Bridgman - Meghan B Azad - Catherine J Field - Nicole Letourneau - David W Johnston - Bonnie J Kaplan - Anita 


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