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The reference weights chosen for this report were based on NHANES III data because these are the most recent data available for either the United States or Canada. The most recent nationally representative data available for Canadians are from the 1970–1972 Nutrition Canada Survey (Demirjian, 1980).

Reference weights are used primarily when setting the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), Adequate Intake (AI), or Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for children or when relating the nutrient needs of adults to body weight. For the 4- through 8-year-old age group, it can be assumed that a small 4-year-old child will require less than a large 8-year-old. However, the RDA or AI for the 4- through 8-year-old age group should meet the needs of both.

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