Brooklyn College Study Shows Attitude Differences About Dietary Supplements Among Students Based on Gender and Immigrant Status

Brooklyn, NY — Men have a greater faith than women that herbal dietary supplements are a good way to lose weight, according to a study of 150 Brooklyn College students conducted by Nina Kholodenko, a student at the College, and Assistant Professor Joshua Fogel of the Business Program in the Department of Economics. Kholodenko began her research while attending a seminar in marketing research and continued her work in independent studies research courses, all with Fogel.

Their findings were included in the paper “Dietary Supplement Use among College Students: Gender and Immigrant Status Beliefs,” which was given at the Seventeenth Greater New York Conference on Behavioral Research at New York City’s John Jay College for Criminal Justice on November 4. The paper was awarded the Guzewicz Award for Outstanding Cross-Cultural Research.

Among the sample of Brooklyn College students in the study, nearly one-half (47.3%) use dietary supplements, with the percentage of men and women using the supplements approximately equal. Kholodenko and Fogel broadened their inquiry to include student immigrant background in their analyses. Their data showed that students born in the United States have significantly more faith in the weight-loss effectiveness of herbal dietary supplements than foreign-born students, with native-born men responding most positively to the statement “Dietary supplements are a good way to lose weight.”

“This discrepancy in the data may mean that foreign-born students are simply less aware than native-born students about herbal dietary supplements,” said Fogel. “They might not yet have been exposed to advertising. It does show that the old stereotype of women being more weight conscious than men is not always true. But most importantly, this is a serious piece of social research from a student who shows great promise.”

Kholodenko was not the only student to present her scholarship at the Behavioral Research conference. Placido D. Viterbo presented a paper with Fogel on “Savings Behavior Differences between Immigrants and Non-immigrants,” and Nancy Sardella, along with Fogel, presented the paper, “Internet Dating Web-Sites: Behavioral Differences between African Americans and Whites.”