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J Am Diet Assoc. 2003 Apr;103(4):461-6.

Comparing nutrient intake from food to the estimated average requirements shows middle- to upper-income pregnant women lack iron and possibly magnesium.

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  • 1Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0370, USA.



To determine whether nutrient intake from food alone was adequate across trimesters for middle- to upper-income pregnant women when compared with estimated average requirements (EAR), and to determine whether food intake exceeded the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for any nutrient.


Observational study in which pregnant women completed 3-day diet records each month during their pregnancy. Records were analyzed for nutrient content, and usual intake distributions were determined.


Subjects were low-risk women in their first trimester of pregnancy (living in middle- to upper-income households). Ninety-four women were recruited, and sixty-three participated.


Nutrient intake data were adjusted to achieve normality by using a power transformation. A mixed model method was used to assess trends in intake over time, and to estimate mean intake and within-subjects and between-subjects variance. The usual intake distribution for each nutrient was determined and compared with the EAR and UL.


The probabilities of usual nutrient intake from food being less than the EAR were highest for iron (.91), magnesium (.53), zinc (.31), vitamin B6 (.21), selenium (.20), and vitamin C (.12). Women were not at risk of exceeding the UL from food intake for any nutrient studied.


Study participants did not consume adequate amounts of iron from food to meet the needs of pregnancy, and therefore iron supplementation is warranted in this population. Intake of magnesium was suboptimal using the EAR as a cut-point for adequacy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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