Dietary intakes of 11 nutritional elements for eight age-sex groups were estimated for the time period 1982 to 1991 on the basis of results from laboratory analyses of 234 core foods of the U.S. food supply and food consumption data from two national food consumption surveys conducted in the late 1970s. Estimated intakes based on the mean and median (50th percentile) levels of the elements in the foods were similar, except for iodine for which intake estimates based on mean values exceeded those based on median values. The high concentration of iodine in some foods resulted in higher mean (than median) values. Estimated intakes of sodium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and iodine met or nearly met dietary intake standards set by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Estimated intakes of copper were below NAS standards for all eight age-sex groups. Estimated intakes were below NAS standards for magnesium for six age-sex groups, calcium and zinc for five age-sex groups, iron for three age-sex groups, and manganese for one age-sex group. The diets of teenage girls had seven elements below NAS standards, the diets of adult women had five elements below NAS standards, and the diets of 2-year-olds and older men and women had four elements each below NAS standards. The estimated intake of sodium for 6-11-month-old infants showed a decreasing trend from 729 mg/day in 1982/83 to 632 mg/day in 1990/91. There were no other significant trends or changes in estimated element intakes over the 9-year period.