nutrient intake of groups; the RDA is not appropriate. The prevalence of inadequacy may be estimated by determining the percentage of the population below the EAR as follows:

  • Based on the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) data, about 11 percent of nonsmoking

Box S-2 Uses of Dietary Reference Intakes for Healthy Individuals and Groups

Type of Use

For the Individual

For a Group


EARa: use to examine the possibility of inadequacy of reported intake.

EARb: use to estimate the prevalence of inadequate intakes within a group.


AIa: intakes at this level have a low probability of inadequacy.

AIb: mean intake at this level implies a low prevalence of inadequate intakes.


ULa: intake above this level has a risk of adverse effects.

ULb: use to estimate the prevalence of intakes that may be at risk of adverse effects.


RDA: aim for this intake.

EAR: use in conjunction with a measure of variability of the group's intake to set goals for the median intake of a specific population.


AI: aim for this intake.


UL: use as a guide to limit intake; chronic intake of higher amounts may increase risk of adverse effects.


EAR = Estimated Average Requirement

RDA = Recommended Dietary Allowance

AI = Adequate Intake

UL = Tolerable Upper Intake Level

a Requires accurate measure of usual intake. Evaluation of true status requires clinical, biochemical, and anthropometric data.

b Requires statistically valid approximation of usual intake.

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