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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY Title: The Role of Dairy in Meeting the Recommendations for Shortfall Nutrients in the American Diet

Authors
item Nicklas, Theresa -
item O'Neil, Carol -
item Fulgoni, Victor -

Submitted to: Journal of the American College of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2009
Publication Date: February 1, 2009
Citation: Nicklas, T.A., O'Neil, C.E., Fulgoni, V.L. 2009. The role of dairy in meeting the recommendations for shortfall nutrients in the American diet. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 28(1):73S-81S.

Interpretive Summary: Children 9–18 years of age need, on average, 4 equivalents of dairy per day (4 equivalents to meet calcium recommendation and at least 3 equivalents to meet magnesium recommendation). An equivalent of dairy is 300 mg of calcium. Adults 19–50 years need at least 2 equivalents of dairy per day (2 equivalents to meet calcium recommendation and at least 2 equivalents to meet the magnesium recommendation). Adults 51+ years of age need 3 equivalents of dairy per day (3 equivalents to meet calcium recommendation and at least 3 equivalents to meet the magnesium recommendation). More than 4 equivalents of dairy would be needed to meet the potassium recommendation at all ages. Thus, consuming 4 equivalents of dairy in addition to increased intakes of fruits and vegetables may be needed to meet the potassium recommendation. These data indicated that recommending 3–4 equivalents from the dairy group for all people greater than 9 years of age may be necessary in order to meet the DRIs and to ensure adequate intakes of calcium and magnesium, assuming the current diet remains the same.

Technical Abstract: The 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recognized calcium, potassium, and magnesium, all found in high levels in dairy foods, among the shortfall nutrients in both children's and adults' diets. The objectives were to determine: 1) the percentage of the population with intakes greater than the Adequate Intakes (AI) for calcium and potassium and the percentage of the population with inadequate magnesium intake (based on Estimated Average Requirement [EAR]), and 2) the impact of various levels of dairy consumption on intake of calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Our research design consisted of secondary analysis of data from the 1999-2004 NHANES on participants 2 yrs or older. Percentage of EAR/AI for nutrients was calculated based on age/gender-specific values. All analyses were weighted using the NHANES six-year sample weights and adjusted for the complex sample design of NHANES with the statistical package SUDAAN. Our results showed that the most recent NHANES data demonstrated that a significant proportion of the American population did not meet recommendations for calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Less than 3% of the population consumed the recommended level or more of potassium. Only 30% of the US population 2 years of age and older obtained the recommended level of calcium or more and 55% consumed less than the EAR for magnesium. Recommending 3–4 servings from the dairy group for all people greater than 9 years of age may be necessary in order to ensure adequate intake of calcium and magnesium, assuming the current diet remains the same. More than 4 servings of dairy would be needed to meet the potassium recommendation at all ages. We conclude that for those individuals who do not consume dairy products, we need to better understand the barriers to consuming specific dairy products. In addition, more research is needed to examine whether food-based recommendations are practical, feasible, and cost-effective to meet nutrient needs.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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