peak bone mass was the reason for dividing adulthood into ages 19 through 30 years and 31 through 50 years. Moreover, mean energy expenditure decreases during this 30-year period, and needs for nutrients related to energy metabolism may also decrease. For some nutrients, the DRIs may be the same for the two age groups. However, for other nutrients, especially those related to energy metabolism, EARs (and RDAs) are likely to differ.
The age period of 51 through 70 years spans active work years for most adults. After age 70, people of the same age increasingly display variability in physiological functioning and physical activity. A comparison of people over age 70 who are the same chronological age may demonstrate as much as a 15- to 20-year age-related difference in level of reserve capacity and functioning. This is demonstrated by age-related declines in nutrient absorption and renal function. Because of the high variability in functional capacity of older adults, the EARs for this age group may reflect a greater variability in requirements for the older age categories. This variability may be most applicable to nutrients for which requirements are related to energy expenditure.
Recommendations for pregnancy and lactation may be subdivided because of the many physiological changes and changes in nutrient needs that occur during these life stages. In setting EARs for these life stages, however, consideration is given to adaptations to increased nutrient demand, such as increased absorption, and to greater conservation of many nutrients. Moreover, some nutrients may undergo net losses due to physiological mechanisms regardless of the nutrient intake. Thus, for some nutrients, there may not be a basis for EAR values that are different during these life stages than they are for other women of comparable age.
The reference weights and heights selected for adults and children are shown in Table 1-1. The values are based on anthropometric data collected from 1988 –1994 as part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) in the United States.