In a recent national dietary survey published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers analyzed the diets of over 7,000 children and adolescents between 2 to 18 years old. Nutrient content of each food and supplement consumed in each child’s diet was calculated and compared to the Estimated Average Requirements (EAR). The results found that boys and girls between the ages 2 to 8 had the lowest levels of inadequate nutrient intake while girls between the ages 14 to 18 had the highest levels of inadequacy. Vitamin D, thiamin, and folate in fortified foods were the highest contributors of at least half of the nutrient intake. Other nutrients that contributed to at least 12 to 18 percent of the intake were vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, B-12, iron, and zinc. Calcium was among the lowest at 4.5 to 6.6 percent. Despite the increased nutrients in fortified foods, a significant percentage of children did not meet the EAR for their age and sex. What are your recommendations to your patients for maintaining a healthy diet?
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