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Attitudes toward integrative paediatrics: a national survey among youth health care physicians in the Netherlands

Miek C Jong12*, Marja van Vliet1, Susan Huttenhuis1, Désirée van der Veer3 and Silvia van den Heijkant4

Author Affiliations

1 Department Healthcare and Nutrition, Louis Bolk Institute, Driebergen, the Netherlands

2 Department Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden

3 Community Healthcare centre Twente (GGD), Enschede, the Netherlands

4 Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO + Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University medical centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:4  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-4

Published: 16 January 2012



Integrative Medicine (IM) is an emerging field in paediatrics, especially in the USA. The purpose of the present study was to assess the attitudes and beliefs of Youth Health Care (YHC) physicians in the Netherlands toward IM in paediatrics.


In October 2010, a link to an anonymous, self-reporting, 30-item web-based questionnaire was mailed to all members of the Dutch Organisation of YHC physicians. The questionnaire included questions on familiarity with IM, attitudes towards Integrative Paediatrics (IP), use and knowledge of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), demographic and practice characteristics.


A total of 276 YHC physicians (response rate of 27%) responded to the survey. Of the respondents, 52% was familiar with IM and 56% had used some kind of CAM therapy during the past 2 years, of which self-medicated herbal and/or homeopathic remedies (61%) and supplements (50%) were most frequently mentioned. Most of the YHC physicians (62%) seldom asked parents of clients about CAM use. One third of the YHC physicians recommended CAM to their clients. In general, about 50% or more of the respondents had little knowledge of CAM therapies. Predictors for a positive attitude towards IP were familiarity with IM, own CAM use, asking their clients about CAM use and practising one or more forms of CAM therapy. Logistic regression analysis showed that the following factors were associated with a higher recommendation to CAM therapies: own CAM use (odds ratio (OR) = 3.8; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.1-6.9, p = 0.001) and practising CAM (OR 4.4; 95% CI = 1.6-11.7, p = 0.003).


In general Dutch YHC physicians have a relative positive attitude towards IP; more than half of the respondents used one or more forms of CAM and one third recommended CAM therapies. However, the majority of YHC physicians did not ask their clients about CAM use and seemed to have a lack of knowledge regarding CAM.

National survey; Integrative Paediatrics; Attitudes; Youth Healthcare