Health and Human Development - Using the RDIs
Using the RDIs
Tables of RDIs are intended for group use. They should not be seen as
individual requirements. It is reasonable to assume that an intake of at
least 70% of the RDI is an acceptable level of intake. When you calculate
the nutrient intake for an individual, present it on a bar graph compared
with the RDI for that individual, then draw a line across at the 70% level.
Compare the average nutrient intakes for this individual with the RDIs in
the Tables of Recommended Dietary Intakes for the age and sex of the person
you are studying. Which nutrients are well above the 100%? Do any fall
below 70% of the RDI? What does this mean? Do you know enough about the
functions of the nutrients to make informed comment?
Look more carefully at the nutrients. What happens in the body if there is
insufficient or an excess intake? Obviously an excess of water-soluble
vitamins from food (the B group and vitamin C) will not be a problem, as
the excess is excreted. It is difficult to take in an excess of vitamins
unless vitamin capsules are used. But what about low levels of vitamin
intake? Are the RDIs for the individual you are studying low each day or
did the intake on one day upset the average?
An intake of some nutrients well in excess of the RDI may not seem to have
much effect on an apparently healthy school age child, but the food intake
may be habit-forming. An intake in excess of the RDI over many years may
lead to health problems later in life for example; salt can lead to
hypertension, excess energy intakes to overweight or diabetes.
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