BACKGROUND: Health is one of the main reasons for consumers to buy organic; however, scientific evidence for a health effect is still limited. The aim of this study was to investigate the perceived health effects experienced by consumers of organic food using a free access online questionnaire.
RESULTS: A total of 566 respondents participated, of whom 30% reported no health effects. The other respondents reported better general health, including feeling more energetic and having better resistance to illness (70%), a positive effect on mental well-being (30%), improved stomach and bowel function (24%), improved condition of skin, hair and/or nails (19%), fewer allergic complaints (14%) and improved satiety (14%). Furthermore, it was found that the switch to organic food was often accompanied by the use of more freshly prepared foods and other lifestyle changes.
CONCLUSION: This research provided insight into the experienced health effects of consumers of organic food. Although the study design does not permit direct conclusions on health effects of organic food, the results can serve as a basis for the generation of new hypotheses. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry