Assessing Nutrient Intakes Of Groups

The assessment of nutrient adequacy for groups of people requires unbiased, quantitative information on the intake of the nutrient of interest by individuals in the group. Care must be taken to ensure the quality of the information upon which assessments are made so that they are not underestimates or overestimates of total nutrient intake. Estimates of total nutrient intake, including amounts from supplements, should be obtained. It is also important to use appropriate food composition tables with accurate nutrient values for the foods as consumed.

Several steps must be taken to assess the intake of a group. First, the intake distribution must be adjusted to remove the effect of day-to-day variation of individual intake. This can be accomplished either by collect

942 DIETARY REFERENCE INTAKES

942 DIETARY REFERENCE INTAKES

FIGURE 13-2 Comparison of 1-day and usual intakes for estimating the proportion of a group consuming below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR).

Usual Intake (amount/d)

FIGURE 13-2 Comparison of 1-day and usual intakes for estimating the proportion of a group consuming below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR).

ing dietary data for each individual over a large number of days or by statistical adjustments to the intake distribution. The statistical adjustments are based on assumptions about the day-to-day variation derived from repeat measurements of a representative subset of the group under study (Nusser et al., 1996). When this adjustment is performed and observed intakes are thus more representative of the usual diet, the intake distribution narrows, giving a more precise estimate of the proportion of the group with usual intakes below requirements (Figure 13-2). An explanation of this adjustment procedure has been presented in two previous reports (IOM, 2000; NRC, 1986).

A statistical approach is then used to combine the information on nutrient intakes with the information on nutrient requirements in order to determine the apparent percent prevalence of nutrient inadequacy in the group. Two approaches are briefly described below and in detail elsewhere (IOM, 2000; NRC, 1986).

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