U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Nutrition

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 recommends eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods while not exceeding caloric needs. For most people, this means eating a daily assortment of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and beans, and low-fat or fat-free milk products while limiting added sugar, sodium, saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol.1

Folate is an important part of a healthy diet, especially among women of childbearing age, since it can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects early in pregnancy. In 2005–2008, only 32.0 percent of women consumed the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for folate (400 mcg/day). This varied by race and ethnicity, as well as poverty status.

Fewer than 22 percent of non-Hispanic Black women consumed the recommended amount of folate, compared to more than 30 percent of Mexican American and other Hispanic women, and 34.0 percent of non-Hispanic White women.

Women with household incomes of 300 percent or more of poverty were more likely than women with lower incomes to have met the RDA for folate (35.8 percent), while women with incomes below 100 percent of poverty were least likely to have done so (23.4 percent).

Inadequate calcium consumption can lead to lower bone density, bone loss, and increased risk of osteoporosis. The recommended Adequate Intake (AI) for calcium is 1,000 mg/day for women aged 19–50 and 1,200 mg/day for women aged 51 years and older. In 2005–2008, fewer than one-quarter of women (24.5 percent) met or exceeded this recommendation.

Non-Hispanic Black women were less likely than women of other races and ethnicities to have met the recommendations for calcium in 2005–2008 (14.4 percent).

Women with incomes of 300 percent or more of poverty were more likely than those with household incomes of less than 100 percent of poverty to have met the recommended AI for calcium (26.8 versus 19.9 percent, respectively).

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2005.

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