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Survey Finds Majority of Young Adults Have Micronutrient Deficiencies

A recent survey suggests that many men and women, particularly those in the childbearing years between the ages of 20 and 29, may have potassium, zinc, and calcium deficiencies.


Participants in the survey included 3,238 people between the ages of 20 and 59 who took part in the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Program. All of the participants tracked everything they consumed and drank for four consecutive days. Micronutrient intake from food sources was expressed as a percentage of the Reference Nutrient Intake, which is the amount of a nutrient that meets the needs of almost every group.


After examining the data, the researchers found that adults in their prime childbearing years — ages 20 to 29 — were deficient in many areas. Specifically, they found that 24.7% were deficient in potassium, 8.6% in zinc, and 9.4% in calcium. In the 40 to 19 group, 41% were deficient in selenium.


They also found that in men across all ages, 26% were deficient in selenium, 14% in magnesium, and 11% in vitamin A. In women across all ages, 25% were deficient in iron, 50% in selenium, and 24% in potassium.


Researchers from Nutritional Insight Limited in the UK conducted the study. It was published on July 19, 2018, in Frontiers in Nutrition.


The participants in this survey were deficient in micronutrients obtained from food. It’s important to eat a balanced diet in order to get a sufficient amount 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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