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Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate
1991) for continued feeding of human milk to infants through 9 to 12 months of age with appropriate introduction of solid foods.
One problem that occurs in estimating intake data in infants is the lack of available data on total nutrient intake from a combination of human milk and solid foods in the second 6 months of life. Most intake survey data do not identify the milk source, but the published values for total intake indicate that cow milk or formula based on cow milk was most likely consumed along with weaning foods (Specker et al., 1997).
Toddlers: Ages 1 Through 3 Years
The greater velocity of growth in height during ages 1 through 3 years compared with ages 4 through 5 years provides a biological basis for dividing this period of life. Because children in the United States and Canada from age 4 years onwards begin to enter the public school system, ending this life stage prior to age 4 years seemed appropriate. Data are sparse for indicators of nutrient adequacy on which to derive DRIs for these early years of life. In some cases, DRIs for this age group were derived from data extrapolated from studies of infants or of adults ages 19 years and older.
Early Childhood: Ages 4 Through 8 Years
Because major biological changes in velocity of growth and changing endocrine status occur during ages 4 through 8 or 9 years (the latter depending on onset of puberty in each gender), the category of 4 through 8 years is appropriate. For many nutrients, but not those covered in this report, a reasonable amount of data is available on nutrient intake and various criteria for adequacy (such as nutrient balance measured in young children aged 5 through 7 years) that can be used as the basis for the EARs and AIs for this life stage group.
Puberty/Adolescence: Ages 9 Through 13 Years and 14 Through 18 Years
Because current data support younger ages for pubertal development, it was determined that the adolescent age group should begin at 9 years. The mean age of onset of breast development (Tanner Stage 2) for white girls in the United States is 10.0 ± 1.8 (standard deviation) years; this is a physical marker for the beginning of increased estrogen secretion (Herman-Giddens et al., 1997).