. "Appendix D: Assessing the Performance of the EAR Cut-Point Method for Estimating Prevalence." Dietary Reference Intakes: Applications in Dietary Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2000.
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DRI DIETARY REFERENCE INTAKES: Applications in Dietary Assessment
Box D-3Major findings—Distribution of requirements not symmetrical
The bias in the estimate of inadequacy that results from application of the EAR cut-point method when the distribution of requirements is skewed can be severe.
When skewness exceeds values around 2, the relative bias (estimated prevalence/true prevalence) is very large—over 100 percent.
Even though this simulation was limited in scope, results are striking enough for the Uses Subcommittee to recommend that the EAR cut-point method not be used to assess the prevalence of nutrient inadequacy for a nutrient with a skewed requirement distribution.
of 50,000, prevalence of inadequacy was estimated from the population itself. Therefore, the values shown in Table D-1 and in Figure D-19 represent the actual proportion of individuals with intakes below requirements (true prevalence) and the estimate obtained from application of the EAR cut-point method.
The only nutrient for which there is strong evidence indicating a skewed requirement distribution (at the time this report was published) is iron in menstruating women (FAO/WHO, 1988). In recent Institute of Medicine reports on Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
TABLE D-1 True Prevalence of Inadequacy and Estimated Prevalence of Inadequacy of Iron Obtained Using the EAR Cut-point Method
Distribution of Requirements
True Prevalence (%)
Estimated Prevalence (%)
NOTE: The distribution of usual intakes is fixed to be normal with a mean of 12 mg and a standard deviation of 3 mg.