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Direct link to the new report (PDF format).

Using serving-size aids, nutritionist Grace Omolewa-Tomobi, left, helps a study participant recall food portions. Link to photo information
The ARS Food Surveys Research Group heads "What We Eat In America," the dietary interview component of NHANES. The group's innovative techniques capture national food intake data during interviews. Click the image for more information about it.

New Report Sheds Light on Nutrient Intakes Nationwide

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
September 29, 2005

Nearly 95 percent of people in the United States are not getting desirable intakes of vitamin E from foods and beverages. More than half aren't getting enough magnesium, about 40 percent aren't getting enough vitamin A, and nearly one-third aren't getting desirable intakes of vitamin C from the foods and beverages in their diets.

This information—as well as details on which segments of the population are at greatest risk of falling short on specific nutrients—can be found in a report released today on the World Wide Web by the Agricultural Research Service's Food Surveys Research Group in Beltsville, Md. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.

The report is a summary of the most current federal nationwide food consumption data available from "What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002." The USDA-ARS Food Surveys Research Group (FSRG) is responsible for the national dietary interview, which is one of several components of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Previously, USDA and DHHS conducted separate nationwide surveys. An effective government partnership between these agencies during the last seven years has brought stronger methods and technologies to a single process for collecting and analyzing nationwide food and nutrient intakes, according to supervisory nutritionist Alanna Moshfegh of the FSRG.

The report released today is called "What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002: Usual Nutrient Intakes from Food Compared to Dietary Reference Intakes." It presents results from survey interviews of nearly 9,000 individuals nationwide on their intake of foods and beverages, but not supplements. Nutrient intakes were calculated using data on the nutrient content of foods produced by the group and another ARS research unit, the Nutrient Data Laboratory, both with the ARS Beltsville (Md.) Human Nutrition Research Center.

Today's release shows national estimates of nutrient intakes among each of 17 age-gender groupings. The report also shows how the survey results compare to the new Dietary Reference Intakes, or DRIs. To access the newly released report on the World Wide Web, go to: