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Obese and Overweight Americans May be Deficient in Micronutrients

In the United States, 67% of the population is overweight or obese. And now a study has found that the diets of these populations are not necessarily providing the right nutrients. In fact, the study suggests that obese and overweight individuals in the US are deficient in many micronutrients.

For their study, researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which took place between 2001 and 2008. They included participants with reliable dietary records and excluded pregnant and lactating women.

In regards to weight classification, people with a BMI of 25 or less were considered normal weight; between 25 and 30 were overweight; and over 30 were obese. The researchers looked at intake of vitamin A, C, D, choline, dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Surprisingly, the normal weight group consumed the most calories, with an average 2,216 daily. The overweight group, in comparison, consumed an average 2,002 calories and the obese group consumed an average 2,154. The researchers also discovered that the normal weight group ate the most fruit and all three groups ate approximately the same amount of vegetables. The normal weight group ate a little bit less protein, more dairy, and more sugar than the other two groups. The obese group ate the most protein.

The researchers also found that the obese group had between 5% to 12% lower intakes of micronutrients and a higher likelihood of nutrient inadequacy. As an example, 48% of the normal weight group did not meet the recommended amount of calcium, compared with 50% of the overweight group and 51% of the obese group. Additionally, 45% of the normal weight group did not meet the recommended amount of vitamin A, compared with 50% of the overweight group and 52% of the obese group.

Researchers from Pharmavite conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 7, 2015, in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Regardless of weight, it’s important to eat a balanced diet in order to get enough of all essential nutrients. The American Heart Association recommends that adults get six servings of grain, three to four servings of vegetables, four servings of fruits, two to three servings of dairy, and three to six ounces of lean meats, poultry, or seafood daily.

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