The Role of Dairy in Meeting the Recommendations for Shortfall Nutrients in the American Diet
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recognized calcium, potassium and magnesium, all found in high levels in dairy foods, among the shortfall nutrients in both children and adults' diets. The objectives were to determine: 1) the percentage of the population with intakes greater than the Adequate Intakes (AI) for calcium and potassium and the percentage of the population with inadequate magnesium intake (based on Estimated Average Requirement [EAR]) and 2) the impact of various levels of dairy consumption on intake of calcium, potassium and magnesium. Secondary analysis of data from the 1999-2004 NHANES. SUBJECTS/ SETTING: Participants 2 years of age and older. Percentage of the population meeting current recommendations for calcium, potassium and magnesium. Percentage of EAR/AI for nutrients was calculated based on age/gender specific values. All analyses were weighted using the NHANES six-year sample weights and adjusted for the complex sample design of NHANES with the statistical package SUDAAN. The most recent NHANES data demonstrated that a significant proportion of the American population did not meet recommendations for calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Less than 3% of the population consumed the recommended level or more of potassium. Only 30% of the US population 2 years of age and older obtained the recommended level of calcium or more and 55% consumed less than the EAR for magnesium. Recommending 3-4 servings from the dairy group for all people greater than 9 years of age may be necessary in order to ensure adequate intake of calcium and magnesium, assuming the current diet remains the same. More than 4 servings of dairy would be needed to meet the potassium recommendation at all ages. For those individuals who do not consume dairy products, we need to better understand the barriers to consuming specific dairy products. In addition, more research is needed to examine whether food-based recommendations are practical, feasible and cost effective to meet nutrient needs.