Nutrients, Vol. 13, Pages 3473: Nutritional Inadequacy: Unraveling the Methodological Challenges for the Application of the Probability Approach or the EAR Cut-Point Method—A Pregnancy Perspective
Nutrients doi: 10.3390/nu13103473
The aim of this study was to unravel the methodological challenges when exploring nutritional inadequacy, involving 608 healthy pregnant women. The usual intake of twenty-one nutrients was recorded by employing a validated FFQ. Simulated datasets of usual intake were generated, with randomly imposed uncertainty. The comparison between the usual intake and the EAR was accomplished with the probability approach and the EAR cut-point method. Point estimates were accompanied by bootstrap confidence intervals. Bootstrap intervals applied on the risk of inadequacy for raw and simulated data tended in most cases to overlap. A detailed statistical analysis, aiming to predict the level of inadequacy, as well as the application of the EAR cut-point method, along with bootstrap intervals, could effectively be used to assess nutrient inadequacy. However, the final decision for the method used depends on the distribution of nutrient-intake under evaluation. Irrespective of the applied methodology, moderate to high levels of inadequacy, calculated from FFQ were identified for certain nutrients (e.g. vitamins C, B6, magnesium, vitamin A), while the highest were recorded for folate and iron. Considering that micronutrient-poor, obesogenic diets are becoming more common, the underlying rationale may help towards unraveling the complexity characterizing nutritional inadequacies, especially in vulnerable populations.
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