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Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), because this approach will lead to estimates of inadequacy that are too large.

Based on the 2000 IOM report cited above (IOM, 2000), whenever possible, the assessment of apparent dietary adequacy should consider relevant biological parameters. In the case of vitamin D, an important biological parameter reflective of dietary exposure—serum 25OHD concentrations—was available and could be compared to values that the committee estimated to be approximately equivalent to an EAR or an RDA. However, the existing statistical models provided in the 2000 IOM report (IOM, 2000) address only dietary intake data and do not provide a basis for considering a biological parameter such as serum measures in order to specify the prevalence of inadequate intakes in population groups. Further, the apparent discrepancy between the intake data for vitamin D, as described below, and the biological parameter was also concerning and decreased the confidence in the appropriateness of estimating prevalence of inadequacy based on a distribution of vitamin D intakes. Therefore, a descriptive rather than an analytical approach is used for the vitamin D intake assessment.


As presented in Chapters 5 and 6, the Estimated Average Requirements (EARs), Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), Adequate Intakes (AIs), and Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for calcium are summarized in Table 7-1. The intake assessment takes into account these reference values.

U.S. Calcium Intake

Estimated calcium intakes from food sources only, by intake percentile groups, are shown as bar graphs in Figure 7-1. The prevalence of dietary inadequacy for a group can be estimated by the proportion of the group with intakes less than the EAR (IOM, 2000). The 5th percentile of intake for children 1 to 3 years of age is approximately equal to their EAR of 500 mg/day, implying a low prevalence of inadequacy (less than 5 percent). However, for all other age and gender groups of children, the prevalence is at least 25 percent, because intake at the 25th percentile is below the EAR. For adults, the prevalence of inadequacy from food sources alone is high.

As shown in Figure 7-2, the addition of information about calcium intake from supplements to the data set, thereby allowing an estimate of total intake, appears to impact primarily women over 50 years of age. All life stage groups show a slight increase when supplements are taken into account, but women 51 to 70 years of age demonstrate an estimated median total calcium intake (i.e., from foods plus supplements) of 1,044 mg/

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