for sodium. DRIs comprise a set of nutrient reference values for assessing and planning diets for healthy people. These reference values replace and expand upon the previous Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for the United States and the Recommended Nutrient Intakes for Canada. DRIs encompass RDAs (derived from the Estimated Average Requirements, EARs) and Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for life stages and genders. Detailed information about the process of establishing DRIs can be found in the report Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements (IOM, 2006). A brief summary of the DRIs is found in Box 1-1.

In establishing DRI values for sodium, the Panel on Dietary Reference Intakes for Electrolytes and Water (IOM, 2005) found insufficient evidence to derive RDAs. Instead Adequate Intakes (AIs) were set for all life stage and gender groups. For example, an AI of 1,500 mg per day was set for all children 9 years of age and older, adolescents, and adult men and women up to 51 years of age to ensure that the overall diet provides an adequate intake of other important nutrients and also to cover sweat losses in unacclimated individuals who are exposed to high temperatures or who become physically active (IOM, 2006, p. 388). The AIs for those 51 to 70

BOX 1-1
Definition of Dietary Reference Intakes

Adequate Intake (AI): The recommended average daily intake level based on observed or experimentally determined approximations or estimates of nutrient intake by a group (or groups) of apparently healthy people that are assumed to be adequate. The AI is used when an RDA cannot be determined.

Estimated Average Requirement (EAR): The average daily nutrient intake level that is estimated to meet the requirements of half of the healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): The average daily dietary nutrient intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97-98 percent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.

Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): The highest average daily nutrient level that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general population. As intake increases above the UL, the potential risk of adverse effects may increase.

SOURCE: IOM, 2006.

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