African-American adolescent and teenage girls consume less vitamin A and D, calcium and magnesium compared to Caucasian girls, according to researchers at St. Joseph College, Wesleyan University and other institutions. Regardless of race, the researchers also found a “substantial” percentage of girls had intakes of vitamin E, magnesium and folate that fall below recommended guidelines.
The researchers studied data from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s National Growth and Healthy Study of nearly 1,200 white girls and more than 1,200 African-American girls to determine their usual daily intakes of vitamins A, E, C, D, B6, B12, magnesium, folate, calcium and zinc.
The study reported that Caucasian girls tend to consume greater amounts of micronutrients compared to African-American girls, with the exception of vitamins E and C and zinc. Intakes of vitamins A, D and C; calcium; and magnesium tend to decrease with age for all girls, but the rate of decreased intake of vitamin D, calcium and magnesium is greater among African-American girls.
The researchers speculate that, as girls age, “the nutrient density of their diet (decreases), and this tendency (is) more pronounced among African-American girls. Food and nutrition professionals should focus their counseling efforts on improving diets of young girls, particularly those who are African-American.”
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