National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine: What People Aged 50 and Older Discuss With Their Health Care Providers

Findings Page 3

Discussing CAM With Health Care Providers

Overall, two-thirds of respondents (67 percent) reported that they had not discussed CAM with any health care provider versus a third (33 percent) of respondents who reported that they had discussed CAM with a health care provider (Figure 5): a physician, nurse practitioner or nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant, chiropractor, physical therapist, or any other health care provider.

Among respondents who reported ever using CAM, a higher percentage, 58 percent, said they had discussed CAM with a health care provider5.

As Figure 6 illustrates, people aged 50 and older were most likely to have discussed CAM with their physician; less than half as many discussed it with other types of health care providers. Some demographic groups were more likely to talk to certain types of providers about CAM:

  • Physicians: Women were more likely than men to have discussed CAM with their physicians (32 vs. 24 percent), as were those with more education. Just over a third of respondents with some college or more education (36 percent) said they talked with their physician, versus a fifth of those with high school education or less (21 percent).
  • Nurses and nurse practitioners: Those aged 50–64 were nearly twice as likely than those aged 65 and older to say they had spoken with a nurse or nurse practitioner about CAM (15 vs. 8 percent).

5 Base: Respondents who used CAM in the past 12 months or ever [n=539]; sampling error = ±4.2 percentage points.


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