Public Release: 

Study shows that nutrient shortfalls are a serious and persistent health disparity

Analysis of national survey data reveals that nutrient shortfalls are disproportionate between black and white Americans

Porter Novelli

Northridge, CA (September 2, 2015) - A study published Monday in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (JHCPU) concludes that ethnicity is associated with nutrient shortfalls of important nutrients. This study compared usual intake for essential nutrients between Non-Hispanic Black and Non-Hispanic White Americans using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2007-2010. This new analysis is consistent with previous research and confirms a continuing diet-related health disparity in the American population.

Nutrient shortfalls are an important nutrition issue that can impact health. Studies published previously have shown that most Americans do not achieve nutrient intake recommendations to support overall health and wellbeing. This study examined percentage of Non-Hispanic Blacks and Whites that did not meet the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for a range of nutrients that are important in health promotion. The results revealed that a greater percentage of Non-Hispanic Blacks were below the EAR for calcium, magnesium, vitamins A and D relative to Non-Hispanic Whites across all ages.

"Nutrient shortfalls have been an issue addressed through dietary guidance for decades to encourage Americans to meet recommended levels," said study co-author Dr. Victor Fulgoni. "However, this analysis shows that little change is happening in nutrient intake and specifically, Non-Hispanic Blacks are at particular risk with significant nutrient shortfalls."

NHANES 2007-2010 was used for estimating the mean and distributions of usual intakes from foods and dietary supplements. In participants ?4 years of age, a greater percentage of Non-Hispanic Blacks compared to Non-Hispanic Whites were below the EAR for the following nutrients:

Percent of Blacks below EAR:

    Calcium: 53.7%

    Magnesium: 63.0%

    Vitamin A: 45.9%

    Vitamin D: 82.4%

Percent of Whites below EAR:

    Calcium: 29.4%

    Magnesium: 41.9%

    Vitamin A: 28.4%

    Vitamin D: 63.5%

"We have supported many studies on nutrient shortfalls in the U.S. population because we continue to see how important nutrient adequacy is in supporting health and wellness. It is important to improve consumption of nutrient-rich foods as the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recommended in its report1; however, dietary supplements can also play a role in meeting nutrient needs especially for magnesium and Vitamin D," said study co-author Dr. James Brooks, Vice President, Science, Technology and Quality at Pharmavite.

Looking ahead, future dietary recommendations that include specific strategies to increase consumption of vitamins and minerals in the U.S. Non-Hispanic Black population may be one way to address this on-going diet-related health disparity. Also, diet and nutrient community-based interventions targeting Non-Hispanic Black populations may offer a potential strategy to educate and improve food and nutrient intake. Additionally, educational programs for health professionals on the role of dietary supplements in achieving nutrient adequacy can help facilitate discussions between providers and consumers and correct this disparity.


Access the full study entitled "Comparison of Inadequate Nutrient Intakes in Non-Hispanic Black vs. Non-Hispanic White Participants: An Analysis of NHANES 2007-2010 in US Children and Adults," at the link provided. Study authors include James R. Brooks, Pharmavite; Carroll Reider, Pharmavite; Victor L. Fulgoni, III, Nutrition Impact, LLC; and Yanni Papanikolaou, Nutritional Strategies, Inc. Pharmavite LLC funded this study.

About Pharmavite LLC:

For more than 40 years, Pharmavite LLC has earned and maintained the trust of healthcare professionals, consumers, and retailers by manufacturing high-quality vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements, and snack foods under its Nature Made and SOYJOY brand names. Based in Northridge, California, Pharmavite LLC operates as a subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. For more information, please visit

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