Consuming the daily recommended amounts of dairy products would reduce the prevalence of inadequate micronutrient intakes in the United States: diet modelling study based on NHANES 2007–2010

  • Erin E. Quann
  • Victor L. Fulgoni
  • Nancy Auestad
Keywords: Nutrients, Nutrient adequacy, Dairy, Nutrition and health, NHANES


Background: A large portion of Americans are not meeting the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for several essential vitamins and minerals due to poor dietary choices. Dairy products are a key source of many of the nutrients that are under consumed, but children and adults do not consume the recommended amounts from this food group. This study modelled the impact of meeting daily recommended amounts of dairy products on population-based nutrient intakes.

Methods: Two-day 24-h dietary recalls collected from participants ≥2 years (n = 8944) from the 2007–2010 What We Eat in America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were analysed. Databases available from the WWEIA/NHANES and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) were used to determine nutrient, food group, and dietary supplement intakes. Modelling was performed by adding the necessary number of dairy servings, using the dairy composite designed by USDA, to each participant’s diet to meet the dairy recommendations outlined by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. All analyses included sample weights to account for the NHANES survey design.

Results: The majority of children 4 years and older (67.4–88.8 %) and nearly all adults (99.0–99.6 %) fall below the recommended 2.5-3 daily servings of dairy products. Increasing dairy consumption to recommended amounts would result in a significant reduction in the percent of adults with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin A intakes below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) when considering food intake alone (0–2.0 vs. 9.9–91.1 %; 17.3–75.0 vs. 44.7–88.5 %; 0.1–15.1 vs. 15.3–48.0 %, respectively), as well as food and dietary supplement intake. Minimal, but significant, improvements were observed for the percent of people below the EAR for vitamin D (91.7 99.9 vs. 91.8–99.9 %), and little change was achieved for the large percentage of people below the Adequate Intake for potassium.

Conclusions: Increasing dairy food consumption to recommended amounts is one practical dietary change that could significantly improve the population’s adequacy for certain vitamins and minerals that are currently under-consumed, as well as have a positive impact on health.

Keywords: Nutrients; Nutrient adequacy; Dairy; Nutrition and health; NHANES


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2078-6204
print ISSN: 2078-6190