Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Nutrition and Food Science

First Advisor

Maria Pontes Ferreira


Natural Health Products (NHP), are defined as products that derive from organisms and may include supplements and herbal/traditional remedies. Prior research indicates that females use NHP more than males. We have unpublished data to show that students use NHP for health maintenance with significantly different use of NHP by Native/Aboriginal students vs. other students. Less is known about Saudi students. We hypothesize that: (1) There are gender differences in NHP used; and (2) There are geo-ethnic differences in NHP used. We also determine the predictor variables that influence NHP use by students. Students from Wayne State University (n=560; 193 males and 367 females) participated in a cross-sectional online survey of NHP with a sample size of 64 Saudi students. χ2 test analyzed group differences, with the alpha set at 0.05. Multiple logistic regression models (MLR) determined the odds ratio (OR) with 95% Confidence Interval (CI) to assess joint effects of the following variables; age, sex, ethnicity, citizenship, and grade level regarding the use of NHP. Data were analyzed with SPSS Software 22. Of 560 surveyed students, 353 (63%) used NHP, while 207 students (37%) did not. There is significant NHP use among students from a diverse sample. χ2 test shows that no difference between Middle Eastern vs. non-Middle Eastern students (p=0.519). However, Saudi students use NHP more than other students (p=0.003). Also, Hispanic students use NHP more than Middle Eastern students (p=0.025). There were no differences between male and female NHP use (p=0.9). The MLR show three predictors of NHP use: Freshman (95% OR=0.43, CI=0.22-0.88, p=0.02), Sophomore (95% OR=0.46, CI=0.25-0.84, p=0.01), and young age (18 to 25 years old) (95% OR=0.41, CI=0.24-0.69, p=0.001). Future work should be undertaken to clarify the NHP used by Saudi university students in the USA vs. Saudi university students in Saudi Arabia.