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Environ Res. 2001 Dec;87(3):160-74.

Dietary intakes of selected elements from longitudinal 6-day duplicate diets for pregnant and nonpregnant subjects and elemental concentrations of breast milk and infant formula.

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Graduate School of the Environment, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, 2109, Australia.


As part of a longitudinal investigation into mobilization of lead from the maternal skeleton during pregnancy and lactation, we have determined the daily intake of selected elements (hereafter called micronutrients) for various subjects and compared these intakes with recommended and/or published intakes, especially those of the United States, through the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). We also sought to ascertain whether there was any seasonal effect in the diets. Six-day duplicate diets were collected from 15 pregnant and 16 nonpregnant migrants to Australia, 6 pregnant Australian control subjects, and 8 children of nonpregnant migrants (6 to 11 years). Samples of breast milk and infant formula were also analyzed. Blended samples were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry for the elements Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg, P, K, Na, Zn, Ba, Sr, and Pb. Daily intakes of micronutrients were only about half of the daily intake estimated for non-Hispanic white females and infants in the U.S. NHANES III. Estimates of daily intakes from breast milk were also considerably lower for the migrant and Australian infants compared with the values extracted from tables of food composition and dietary recall for non-Hispanic white infants in the U.S. NHANES III. For example, Ca was a factor of approximately 3 times lower, Fe approximately 50, and Zn approximately 4. We consider our estimates a reliable indication of the daily intakes for several reasons, including the collection of up to nine quarterly collections of 6-day duplicate diets and retention of subjects in a longitudinal prospective study. The low intakes of the essential elements such as Ca, Fe, and Zn in all these population groups are of potential concern from a public health viewpoint.

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