Disparities found in Americans' nutritional intake

July 10, 2012

Whether your patients are getting the right amounts of nutrients and vitamins seems to depend on their age, gender, race, and ethnicity.

Whether your patients are getting the right amounts of nutrients and vitamins seems to depend on their age, gender, race, and ethnicity.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found variations in nutrition by those factors. The overall rate of nutrient deficiencies in the general population ranged from less than 1% for folates and vitamins A and E to about 10% for iron and vitamins B6 and D.

The largest deficiency involved blacks and vitamin D. Thirty-one percent of blacks had insufficient levels of the vitamin, compared with 3% of whites and 12% of Mexican-Americans. Although the study did not examine causes of the nutrient shortfalls, this particular deficiency could be due to the fact that people with darker skin have more difficulty converting ultraviolet rays into vitamin D.

The National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition assesses nutrition status by measuring blood and urine levels for diet and nutrition biochemical indicators.