Harmonization of Approaches to Nutrient Reference Values: Applications to Young Children and Women of Reproductive Age


Establishing reference values for nutrient intakes of populations is essential to make recommendations for appropriate, safe dietary intakes and to design nutritional interventions, such as nutrient fortification of foods. Across high-income countries, there is now greater consistency in the methodological approach used to derive the fundamental values needed for establishing nutrient intake recommendations. Yet across other national and international bodies, particularly in the low- and middle-income countries, considerable inconsistency remains.

Recognizing the need to develop a uniform and consistent basis for setting nutrient intake recommendations across countries, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to convene a consensus committee to assess methodological approaches that could be applied uniformly across countries in setting nutrient intake recommendations.

This resulting report presents the committee’s analyses, findings, and recommendations and provides a framework for how stakeholders can, within the context of a country or region’s needs and abilities, generate a uniform approach for establishing nutrient intake recommendations that take into account culturally and context-specific food choices and dietary patterns.