Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Attitudes and Use among Health Educators in the United States


Health Promotion & Physical Education

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Background: Interest in and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States is increasing. However, CAM remains an area of nascency for researchers and western practitioners.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine U.S. health educators' attitudes toward CAM and their use of common CAM therapies.

Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted among members of a professional health educator listserv.

Results: Health educators generally have positive attitudes toward CAM and about 90% have used at least one CAM therapy in the last 12 months. Differences in CAM attitudes and use were significant, with females reporting more positive attitudes toward and use of CAM.

Discussion: Health educators' overall positive attitudes toward CAM are consistent with the limited extant literature. However, important differences were found by various demographic characteristics, not previously identified.

Translation to Health Education Practice: The results of this study support the small, but growing, body of literature regarding the need for CAM education for future health education professionals. A discussion of various approaches to the integration of CAM education into professional preparation programs is included. (Contains 6 tables.)