American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
June 2012 Clinical Laboratory News: Report Details U.S. Population Nutrition Status

CLN Banner Logo

June 2012: Volume 38, Number 6


Report Details U.S. Nutrition Status

A newly released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluating the U.S. population’s intake of specific nutrients found that most Americans are getting adequate daily doses of vitamins A and D and folate, but that age, sex, and race/ethnicity were closely linked to deficiency rates for certain vitamins and nutrients. Only 10% of Americans showed some nutritional deficiency.

According to CDC’s “Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition,” children and adolescents were rarely deficient in vitamin B12, while older adults were more likely to be deficient. In the case of vitamin C, men were more likely to be deficient compared to women. Non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans were more likely to be vitamin D-deficient compared to non-Hispanic whites.

newsbrief figure 6-12

The report used results from blood and urine samples collected from participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003–2006 and measured 58 indicators of diet and nutrition, including fat- and water-soluble vitamins, iron-status indicators, iodine, and other dietary biomarkers that are important to human health.

For the first time, CDC assessed iron deficiency using serum soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), a relatively new marker of iron status. The agency also evaluated iron deficiency using the sTfR/ferritin ratio. The report revealed higher rates of iron deficiency in Mexican-American children age 1 to 5 years (11%), non-Hispanic black women (16 %), and Mexican-American women of childbearing age (13%) when compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

Notably, vitamin D deficiencies were closely tied to race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic blacks had the highest rate of vitamin D deficiency at 31%, followed by Mexican-Americans at 12%, and non-Hispanic whites at 3%. However, the data showed that deficiency levels generally decreased as age increased and that males and females had similar levels.

The full report is available online.