Background: Total folate intake includes naturally occurring food folate and folic acid from fortified foods and dietary supplements. Recent reports have focused on total folate intakes of persons aged > or =14 y. Information on total folate intakes of young children, however, is limited.
Objective: The objective was to compute total folate and total folic acid intakes of US children aged 1-13 y by using a statistical method that adjusts for within-person variability and to compare these intakes with the Dietary Reference Intake guidelines for adequacy and excess.
Design: Data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey, were analyzed. Total folate intakes were derived by combining intakes of food folate (naturally occurring and folic acid from fortified foods) on the basis of 24-h dietary recall results and folic acid intakes from dietary supplements on the basis of a 30-d questionnaire.
Results: More than 95% of US children consumed at least the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for folate from foods alone. More than one-third (35%) of US children aged 1-13 y used dietary supplements, and 28% used dietary supplements containing folic acid. Supplement users had significantly higher total folate and folic acid intakes than did nonusers. More than half (53%) of dietary supplement users exceeded the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for total folic acid (fortified food + supplements) as compared with 5% of nonusers.
Conclusions: Total folate intakes of most US children aged 1-13 y meet the EAR. Children who used dietary supplements had significantly higher total folate intakes and exceeded the UL by >50%.