Complementary and Alternative Medicine Complementary and Alternative Medicine


Trends in Complementary and Alternative Medicine

National Health Interview Survey*

According to a nationwide government survey released in December 2008, approximately 38 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over and approximately 12 percent of children use some form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).

CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine.

Integrative medicine combines conventional and complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments for which there is evidence of safety and effectiveness.

*Source: The National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Who Uses CAM Most


People of all backgrounds use CAM. However, CAM use among adults is greater among women and those with higher levels of education and higher incomes. The chart above shows the percentage of people using CAM by age.


CAM Use Among Children


The 2007 NHIS asked selected adult respondents about CAM use by children in their households. Overall, approximately 12 percent of children use some form of CAM.


How Many People Use CAM


In the United States, approximately 38 percent of adults (about 4 in 10) and approximately 12 percent of children (about 1 in 9) are using some form of CAM, shown in the chart above.


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