April 6, 2012

2 Min Read
CDC Says Americans Need More Vitamin D, Iron

ATLANTAThe majority of Americans are getting enough vitamins, minerals and nutrients in their diets, however, some groups still need to increase their levels of vitamin D and iron, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition report provides information specific to population groups defined by age, gender, and race/ethnicity to show how the factors affect nutrition status in the United States.

CDCs Division of Laboratory Sciences in the National Center for Environmental Health measured 58 essential nutrientsincluding vitamins, iron, folate and iodinein the blood and urine of thousands of people who are participating in the ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2006, with  emphasis on newly available data for 2003-2006.

Data revealed deficiency rates for vitamins and nutrients vary by age, gender, or race/ethnicity and can be as high as 31% for vitamin D deficiency in non-Hispanic blacks.

"Research shows that good nutrition can help lower people's risk for many chronic diseases. For most nutrients, the low deficiency rates, less than 1% to 10%, are encouraging, but higher deficiency rates in certain age and race/ethnic groups are a concern and need additional attention," said Christine Pfeiffer, Ph.D., lead researcher, in the Division of Laboratory Sciences in CDC's National Center for Environmental Health.

The report found that the fortification of cereal-grain products with folic acid, which began in 1998, has had a sustained positive impact on blood folate levels. The report shows folate deficiency dropped to less than 1% after fortification. The report also shows that blood folate levels in all race/ethnic groups are 50% higher since fortification began.

The report found the highest rates of vitamin D deficiency in non-Hispanic blacks (31%) despite clinical data showing greater bone density and fewer fractures in this group. The vitamin D deficiency rate for Mexican-Americans was 12% and for non-Hispanic whites it was 3%.

The report also noted iodine levels in women aged 20 to 39 years were just above iodine insufficiency. The group also had the lowest iodine levels among any age group of women.

Using a new marker of iron status, the report indicates higher rates of iron deficiency in Mexican-American children aged 1 to 5 years (11%) and in non-Hispanic black (16%) and Mexican-American women (13%) of childbearing age (12 to 49 years) when compared to other race/ethnic groups.

The report provides first-time data on blood levels of fatty acids in the U.S. population. These include heart healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as saturated fatty acids that increase risk of heart disease. The report found heart healthy polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in plasma differ by race/ethnicity.

Learn more about how incorporating healthy nutrients into a diet by downloading Food Product Designs Focus on Wellness" free digital issue.

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