Student presenter relates dietary supplement intake to various factors

Economics major to present at Student Academic Conference on April 14

By Danielle Rebel

Multivitamins. Meal replacement shakes. Whey protein. Creatine, calcium and vitamin C. All fall into the larger category of dietary supplements.

In his Student Academic Conference presentation, senior economics major Vinh Dao will discuss how various socioeconomic factors determine the amount of dietary supplements a person is likely to take on a daily basis.

“There are several factors that will impact dietary supplement intake for an individual,” Dao said. “This is not looking to stereotype; it is just a study to see how many milligrams of supplements (people) are going to take based on their demographics.”

Factors such as age, household income, gender and ethnic groups all played a part in Dao’s research. He said his findings are as expected.

“There are many factors that might change the behavior of taking supplements,” Dao said. “If you are older, you’re not going to be as strong as you were when you were young, right? So in order to improve your health when you get older, supplements might be a solution. You’d expect an older individual to have more dietary supplement intake than a younger individual.”

VinhDao_9580Dao was inspired to begin researching dietary supplements after recently getting involved in bodybuilding. His parents also take various dietary supplements in order to improve their health.

“By doing bodybuilding, I’ve met a lot of people who are into professional sports and bodybuilding,” Dao said. “The common thing is they all take some sort of dietary supplement. The top bodybuilders in the world all have some brand of supplements that they endorse.”

His research is unique. Though they have been popular in the U.S. since the late ’90s, not many have taken the time to study dietary supplements, especially the socioeconomic factors behind their use. Dao would have liked to include variables such as education and sports industry involvement, but research was unavailable to support his predictions. However, the data he did collect was exactly what he was looking for.

“The data table actually supported my predictions,” Dao said. “So far it’s a good sign for me, but I’m still working on the data.”

For more information on Dao’s presentation and the Student Academic Conference, visit