Open Access Open Badges Research article

Protein supplements consumption: a comparative study between the city centre and the suburbs of Palermo, Italy

Antonino Bianco1*, Caterina Mammina2, Ewan Thomas1, Francesco Ciulla1, Umberto Pupella1, Francesco Gagliardo1, Marianna Bellafiore1, Giuseppe Battaglia1, Antonio Paoli3 and Antonio Palma1

Author Affiliations

1 Sport and Exercises Research Unit, University of Palermo, Via Eleonora Duse, 2-90146 Palermo, Italy

2 “G. D’Alessandro” Department of Sciences for Health Promotion and Mother-Child Care, University of Palermo, Via del Vespro, 127, 90129 Palermo, Italy

3 Department of Biomedical Science, University of Padua, Via Manzolo, 3, 35131 Padova, Italy

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BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation 2014, 6:29  doi:10.1186/2052-1847-6-29

Published: 12 July 2014



Protein supplements are extensively used among commercial gym users and athletes. Although demographic information amongst such consumption has been poorly investigated. The aim of this study is to compare protein supplement consumption in commercial gym users, both from the city centre and the suburbs of Palermo, Italy.


A face-to-face questionnaire has been administered to 561 subjects. 207 from the city centre (CC) and 354 from the suburbs (SB) of Palermo, Italy. Protein supplement consumption, frequency of use and association with other dietary supplements has been investigated. Subsequently frequency distribution has been used for demographic assessment.


30% of commercial gym users from the CC and 28.8% from the SB use protein supplements. The majority of these subjects are men (69.5% from the CC and 93.1 from the SB). Frequency of use differs from the two areas showing a mode of 7 days per week consumption for the CC while a mode of 5 days per week consumption is showed for the SB. Interestingly, the association between protein supplements and other dietary supplements also differs between CC and SB. A combined use between proteins, amino acids and creatine is showed in the CC whilst proteins and amino acids or creatine are used alone in the SB.


A considerable number of commercial gym users take protein supplements alone or combined (mainly creatine and amino-acids). Demographic differences are shown between frequency of use and combined use of other dietary supplements. We emphasize on the importance of the dissemination of scientifically based information about supplementation in this environment.

Protein consumption; Dietary supplements; Demographic assessment