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Appalachian Healthcare Explores Vitamin Use

Medical Art Therapy

Many residents in Appalachia, where diets are often unhealthy, may still benefit for multi-vitamins and mineral supplements. 

A recent editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine claims multi-vitamins are a waste of money.  However, University of Kentucky Clinical Nutrition Professor Travis Thomas says people in areas of deep poverty often need vitamin supplements.

“I don’t want to generalize completely, but I think if you looked at percentages, I think there’s a greater likelihood and I think there’s literate to support that in just behaviors that have been documented all through Appalachia,” said Thomas.

Thomas says it’s not just a health concern found in eastern Kentucky, but throughout Appalachia.    The editorial says vitamin supplements are only needed in rare cases.  Instead, it recommends a healthy diet and exercise. 

“I do think that, in order to just prevent this false sense of security we should always promote behavior modification first, and if I had to come up with a priority list that I think individuals should be focusing on, I don’t think taking a multi vitamin or mineral would make the top three.  I think it would be avoiding tobacco products, following that balanced diet, and trying to be more physically active,” added Thomas.

The editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine says a healthy diet and exercise are much more important to a person's overall health.  It also says there are rare occasions when vitamin supplements should be prescribed.  

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