Almost All Americans Severely Lack Essential Nutrition: Study

A new study finds that most U.S. adults fail to meet recommended daily levels of 10 key nutrients, and those with disabilities have even worse nutrition than average.

An estimated 10 to 25 percent of U.S. adults fit into one or more category of disability, from those who have difficulties with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing and eating, to those who cannot use their legs or struggle to accomplish routine tasks, such as money management or household chores.

To determine how these physical or mental difficulties can affect nutrition, University of Illinois researchers analyzed two waves of self-reported food and supplement consumption data from 11,811 adults, more than 4,200 of whom qualified as disabled. The team drew the data from the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which are conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.

“We conducted statistical analyses to compare people with and without disabilities in terms of nutrient intake,” said University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An, who led the effort. He and his colleagues report their findings in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

“We found that American people consume much lower amounts of nutrients than are recommended,” An said. “For example, only 11.3 percent of people meet the daily recommended intake of fiber. Only 4.7 percent of adults consume recommended amounts of potassium.”

A large majority of U.S. adults also fall short of recommended intakes of vitamin A, vitamin C , vitamin D, calcium and iron, An said. They also eat more saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium than recommended, he said.

The picture for those who are disabled is even bleaker. Disabled American adults were even less likely than those without a disability to meet recommended dietary levels of saturated fat, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and potassium, the researchers report. The only exceptions (for intake of vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber) were among people with the lowest level of disability, whose intakes were comparable to non-disabled adults, An said.

“In general, people with disabilities are also disadvantaged nutritionally compared with people without disabilities, even though the bar is already so low,” he said.

Those with the most severe physical and mental challenges were also the least likely to eat well, An said. This makes sense if one considers the challenges they must overcome to obtain, prepare and eat a healthy diet, he said.

“Physically, financially and mentally, they have different barriers to accessing healthy food,” he said.

A trip to the grocery store can be a challenge for anyone who uses a cane, walker or wheelchair to get around. Some cannot grasp small items, open cans or jars, or stand at a countertop to prepare foods. Some have difficulty chewing or digesting certain foods, or may be restricted to a liquid diet. Or they use medications that affect their appetite or ability to taste foods, An said.

“Dietary supplement use moderately improved vitamin C, vitamin D and calcium intakes,” the researchers reported.

“Policymakers and activists for the disabled traditionally have focused primarily on improving transportation options and the physical accessibility of buildings, roads, paths and parking lots,” An said. “Now it’s time for them to turn their attention to the nutritional challenges that confront people with disabilities.”

The paper, “Nutrient intake among U.S. adults with disabilities,” is available online or from the U. of I. News Bureau.

  • TommyTCG

    ..They also eat more saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium than recommended, he said.

    What a load of misinformation. Litle wonder the public is in such poor health. (And, the recommended nutrient requirements are NOT for designed robust health, but are only assumed amounts that will prevent a defciency disease, on an 'average' person)!

    The 3 main causes of arterial calcification are:

    1. Inflammation in the arteries. This is caused by insuffcient anti-oxidants in the diet from food, or from supplements. It IS this inflammation that causes calcification. LDL,. the 'bad cholesterol', (Low Density Lipo-Protein), is merely the marker for the amount of ongoing inflammation. 2 egg yolks daily, (preferrably eaten raw, the shells well washed first, the whites cooked), contain sufficient anti-oxidants such as vitamins, selenium, the amino acids l-cysteine, l-tyrosene etc. to prevent arterial inflammation, thus.. normalising LDL and.. stopping calcification.

    Statin drugs artificially change the LDL marker by intefering with normal liver or gut function, but, lacking in anti-oxidants statins do not even slow calcification.

    Egg yolks are also high vitamin K2, that needed to direct calcium into hard tissues, bones, and away from soft tissues, arteries. Yolks are also high in the brain nutrients phosphotidyl serine and choline. Peptides in egg yolks lower high blood pressure. There is about 0.25 mg each of lutein and zeaxanthin in one raw egg yolk in a highly absorbable, nearly ideal form. Both essential for healthy eyes. (Kale is very high in lutein, BUT nutrients in veges are tightly bound in the cells, and difficult to absorb, and, kale has 0 zeaxanthin)!

    2 egg yolks eaten at breakfast stabilize blood sugars throughout the day. That prevents the sudden blood sugar drop after lunch and dinner, causing extreme sleepiness and/or fatigue.

    Idiotic healthy eating advice is for ONLY 2 yolks a week!

    2. High blood homocysteine. This is lowered with vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, a B vitamin. Butter and cream synthesise vitamin B6 in the gut through the healthy gut bacteria. (A large scale, long term study showed that 2 groups who were seperated geographically by their work, but were of the same genetic origin, the same age group and same activity level, ended up on different diets. The Northern ones cooked entirely with butter and ate lots of animal protein and fat. They even smoked much more than the Southerners. The Southerners ended up with a pure vegetarian diet. The Southerners had 15X(!!) the heart disease incidence of the Notherners. Malhotra S L, Dr. 11X published in Lancet. Butter is also high in vitamin K2.

    Butter contains glycospingolipids, a special category of fatty acids that protect against gastro-intestinal infection, especially in the very young and the elderly; a good source of iodine, in highly absorbable form; Vitamins A and D in butter are essential to the proper absorption of calcium and hence necessary for strong bones and teeth; raw butter has The Wulzen factor, a nutrient unique to butter that protects joints against calcification, as well as hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland, BUT is destroyed during pasteurization.

    Idiotic 'healthy'eating advice is to restrict/omit butter, cream, full fat milk products.

    Saturated fats compose 40% of the double cell membrane of your trillions of cells. A high sat-fat diet is essential to prevent easy entry into the cell of carcinogens such as viruses, heavy metals, dyes etc that damage DNA. (Clark H R, PhD ND, 1995). Cholesterol is essentila for the formation of major hormones, especially testosterone, the male sex hormone, vitamins A and D,

    3. High triglycerides. Blood fats that are elevated by too many carbs, especially sugar, and alcohol. Idiotic 'healthy eating' advice is to stuff yourself with carbs all day ie grains 6X daily and unlimited fruit and sugar.

    Grass fed animal fat is high in healthgiving Omega3, conjugated linoleic acid and long chain fatty acids.

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