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Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)/
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs)

Dietary Reference Intakes for Older Adults

The National Policy and Research Center on Nutrition and Aging (Center) compiled tables summarizing the most current Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) including the DRIs for Macronutrients (2002)* and Dietary Guidelines as well as the findings from the Serving Elders at Risk, the Older Americans Nutrition Programs: National Evaluation of the Elderly Nutrition Program 1993-1995 (Evaluation). These tables are posted as PDF files that require a reader such as Acrobat Reader.
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Table 1:
Dietary Reference Intakes for Older Adults (updated 03/19/04)

This table presents DRI values for men and women for ages 51 to 70 and over 70. They include the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) or Adequate Intake (AI) (whichever is available), and the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). The RDA is the nutrient intake level that meets the requirement for nearly all (97-98%) of people of a specified age range and gender. The AI is the nutrient intake level of healthy people assumed to be adequate and is based on observed intakes, experimental data, etc. The UL is the highest daily nutrient intake likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to almost all of the general population. It is not a recommended level and there are no established benefits of a higher level. In fact, there may be increased risks to consuming above this level.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences published a series of reports presenting dietary reference values for the intake of nutrients by Americans and Canadians. These DRIs replace the 1989 RDAs. DRIs are quantifiable reference values of nutrients that form the basis for planning and assessing the diets of healthy people.

Table 2: Nutrient Availability of an Older Americans Nutrition Program Meal Relative to the Dietary Reference Intakes and Recommended Dietary Allowances (updated 03/19/04)

This table presents the DRIs as noted above as well as the nutrient level to meet Older Americans Nutrition Program requirements. The table also includes nutrient data from the Evaluation that was compared to the 1989 RDAs for individuals age 51 and over.

The Evaluation report summarized the results of a comprehensive study of the Older Americans Nutrition Program. The Program, which serves the general elderly population under Title III and Native Americans under Title VI, is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Administration on Aging (AoA). Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., conducted the evaluation in conjunction with the University of Minnesota.


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National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity & Aging
| Florida International University, OE 200, Miami, FL 33199
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This website is supported, in part, by a grant from the Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS). Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their
findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, reflect official DHHS policy.