may be transferred to the component in the simulated population (Gentle, 1998). At each step, the goal is to achieve distribution values for the component that not only reflect known physiology or known direct observations, but also values that can be transformed into a distribution that can be modeled and used in selecting random members to contribute to the final requirement distribution. When the final distribution representing the convolution of components has been derived, then the median and ninety-seven and one-half percentile of the distribution can be directly estimated. It is recognized that in its simplest form, the Monte Carlo approach ignores possible correlation among components. In the case of iron, however, expected correlation is built into the modeling of the requirement where components are linked to a common variable, such as growth rate, so that not all sources of correlation are neglected.
The EAR may also be used in the assessment of the intake of groups (IOM, 2000) or, together with an estimate of the variance of intake, be used in planning for the intake of groups (Beaton, 1994) (see Chapter 14).
If sufficient scientific evidence is not available to calculate an EAR, a reference intake called an Adequate Intake (AI) is provided instead of an RDA. The AI is a value based on experimentally derived intake levels or approximations of observed mean nutrient intakes by a group (or groups) of healthy people. In the judgment of the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes, the AI for children and adults is expected to meet or exceed the amount needed to maintain a defined nutritional state or criterion of adequacy in essentially all members of a specific healthy population. Examples of defined nutritional states include normal growth, maintenance of normal circulating nutrient values, or other aspects of nutritional well-being or general health.
The AI is set when data are considered to be insufficient or inadequate to establish an EAR on which an RDA would be based. For example, for young infants for whom human milk is the recommended sole source of food for most nutrients for the first 4 to 6 months, the AI is based on the daily mean nutrient intake supplied by human milk for healthy, full-term infants who are exclusively fed human milk. For adults, the AI may be based on data from a single