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the new DRI values. This report is aimed at meeting this need as well as providing the theoretical background and statistical justification for application of the DRIs in the area of dietary assessment.


It can be appropriate to compare intakes of individuals with specific Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), even though dietary intake data alone cannot be used to ascertain an individual's nutritional status. Dietary assessment is one component of a nutritional status assessment, provided that accurate dietary intake data are collected, the correct DRI is selected for the assessment, and the results are interpreted appropriately. Ideally, intake data are combined with clinical, biochemical, and anthropometric information to provide a valid assessment of an individual's nutritional status.

Using the EAR to Assess Individuals

Assessing individual diets for apparent nutrient adequacy addresses the following question, Given an individual's observed intakes on a small number of days, is that individual's usual nutrient intake adequate or not? Comparing an individual's intake to his or her requirement for a nutrient is difficult because: (1) a given individual's actual requirement is not known; and (2) it is seldom possible to measure an individual 's long-term usual intake of the nutrient due to day-to-day variation in intake and intake measurement errors. Theoretically, the probability of inadequacy can be calculated for an individual's usual nutrient intake using the EAR and standard deviation of requirement. However, since an individual's usual intake is almost never known, a statistical approach is suggested in Chapter 3 and Appendix B that allows an evaluation of observed intake and an estimation of the confidence one has that usual intake is above (or below) an individual's requirement, based on the observed intake. This approach is based on the following assumptions:

  • The Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) is the best estimate of an individual's requirement.

  • There is person-to-person variation in the requirement. The standard deviation of the requirement is an indicator of how much the individual 's requirement for a nutrient can deviate from the median requirement (EAR) in the population.

  • Mean observed intake of an individual is the best estimate of an

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