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Question:
How likely are Americans to be deficient in vitamins or minerals?

Answer:
Based on the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2012, about 10% or less of the general population had nutrition deficiencies for selected vitamin and minerals. The rates of deficiency are shown below along with some notable differences by age, gender, and race/ethnicity:
  • Vitamin A: Less than 1%. However, 2% were at risk for excess vitamin A, with older adults most likely to be at-risk for excess vitamin A (4.8%).
  • Vitamin B-6: 10.5%.
  • Vitamin B-12: 2%. Older adults are the most likely to be deficient (4%)
  • Vitamin C: 6%. Men (7%) were more likely to be deficient than women (5%)
  • Vitamin D: 8.1% (with deficiency defined as serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level less than 12 ng/mL). An additional 24% were at-risk for inadequacy (level of 12 ng/mL to to 20 ng/mL). Non-Hispanic black (31%) and Mexican American (12%) people were more likely to be deficient than non-Hispanic white people (3%).
  • Vitamin E: Less than 1%.
  • Folate: Less than 1%. Deficiency has decreased since mandatory folic acid fortification of enriched cereal grain products in 1998, raising levels by about 50%.
  • Iron: 6.7% deficient. Among women ages 12 to 29, 9.5% were deficient, as were 6.7% of children ages 1 to 5. There were higher rates of iron deficiency in Mexican-American children aged 1 to 5 years (11%) and in non-Hispanic black (16%) and Mexican-American women (13%) of childbearing age (12 to 49 years) when compared to other race/ethnic groups. Few men were deficient in iron, but 29% were at risk for iron excess.
For information about other nutrients, see ConsumerLab.com's reports.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 4/5/2012. Last updated 8/8/2017.

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