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FIGURE 13-3 Distribution of reported total folate intake for men and women aged 19 years and older, Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988–1994. The area under each curve represents 100 percent of that population. More than 50 percent of young women have reported folate intakes (diet plus supplements) below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR). However, these data are not adjusted for the higher bioavailability of folate as consumed in fortified foods and supplements as was done in determining the EAR. Furthermore, the reported intakes are likely to be underestimates of the actual intake because of limitations in the methods used to analyze food folate. Data have been adjusted for within-person variability using the method of Nusser et al. (1996). Folate intake values were rounded to the nearest 100 µg and all values greater than 1,000 µg were recorded as 1,000 µg. Data points are from unpublished data on percentiles of B vitamin intake from food and supplements, J.D.Wright, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998.

  • At what level of intake should concern be raised for a population?

Planning Nutrient Intakes of Groups

The EAR also may be used as a basis for planning or making recommendations for the nutrient intakes of free-living groups. A group mean intake that would be associated with a low prevalence of inadequate intakes can be based on the EAR and the variance of intake. This can be done by using the same principles that were used in the estimation of the prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes above (Figure 13-5). A detailed explanation of the method is

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