Knowledge, practices and risk awareness regarding non-prescription weight loss supplements among university students in UAE

Ammar Abdulrahman Jairoun*, Sabaa Saleh Al-Hemyari, Balsam Qubais Saeed, Moyad Shahwan, Mena Al-Ani, Mohammed Husham Khattab, Brian Godman, Saleh Karamah AL-Tamimi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To assess knowledge and risk awareness about weight loss supplements and their possible adverse consequences, and to investigate significant factors impacting such knowledge and risk awareness. Subject and methods: A descriptive analytical cross-sectional community-based study was performed among students and teaching staff at Ajman University (AU). A self-administered survey was sent to respondents’ emails via a web-based electronic link. The questionnaire included demographic data, respondents’ knowledge and risk awareness about the use of the weight loss supplements they were taking and their ingredients, and adverse events after the use of any weight loss supplements. Results: One thousand participants completed the questionnaire. Most participants had good risk awareness about weight loss supplements. A total of 391 (39.1%; 95% CI: 30.7–48) participants used weight loss supplement products, and among them, 126 (32.2%; 95% CI: 22.4–36) experienced related side effects. The most common complaints were gastrointestinal symptoms (34.9%); warmth or redness of the face, neck, or chest (25.4%); and headaches (17.5%). A multivariate analysis showed that better risk awareness scores regarding weight loss supplement use were significantly associated with educational level, employment status, and participant gender. Conclusion: The current study revealed some misconceptions about the safety of slimming dietary supplements (SDS). Consequently, awareness should be raised regarding SDS use, and regulatory action should be taken to prevent their inappropriate or excessive SDS use.

Original languageEnglish
JournalZeitschrift fur Gesundheitswissenschaften
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Knowledge
  • Risk awareness
  • Side effects
  • Slimming dietary supplements
  • UAE


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