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FIGURE 8-1 Conceptual framework—Uses of Dietary Reference Intakes. Nutrient intakes include all sources of nutrients: foods, beverages, and dietary supplements.

Extensive detail on the application of all of the various DRI values can be found in the reports on the application of the DRIs in assessment (IOM, 2000) and in planning (IOM, 2003).

Included in this chapter are specific applications to the nutrients discussed in this report. Details on how the DRIs are set with reference to specific life stages and gender and the criterion that defines adequacy and excess for each of these nutrients are given in Chapters 4 through 7.


Dietary assessment methods have several inherent inaccuracies. One is that individuals underreport their intakes (Mertz et al., 1991; Schoeller, 1995; Schoeller et al., 1990), and it appears that obese individuals often do so to a greater extent than do normal-weight individuals (Heitmann and Lissner, 1995). Presently, a method for adjusting intakes to account for underreporting by individuals is not available and much work is needed to develop an acceptable method. Another important inherent inaccuracy is the quality of food composition databases and their applicability to what is or will actually be consumed when estimating intake or planning diets.

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