Dietary Reference Intakes and Chronic Disease Endpoints Workshop

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) Committees of the U.S. and Canadian governments held a workshop entitled “Options for Consideration of Chronic Disease Endpoints for Dietary Reference Intakes” on March 10 – 11, 2015. The objective of the workshop was to critically evaluate key scientific issues involved in using chronic disease endpoints for setting dietary reference intakes and, in this context, to provide information for future decisions as to whether and/or how chronic disease endpoints can be incorporated into the setting of DRI values.

View the workshop webcasts:

Background Information

The current DRI approaches for selecting indicators of adequacy and toxicity and for estimating dose-response relationships between nutrient intakes and selected outcomes derive from several Food and Nutrition Board committee reports published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 19941 and 1998.2 These committees recommended that DRIs for adequacy be expressed as Estimated Average Requirements (EARs) and Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs, representing 97.5% of population requirements). They also recommended that reference values for Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) be included in future DRI evaluations. Additionally, the 1994 IOM committee concluded that future RDA processes (now called DRIs) should include the concept of chronic disease risk reduction in addition to the classical nutrient deficiency endpoints. The approaches recommended by the 1994 and 1998 committees were applied, with a few additions (e.g., Adequate Intakes, Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges), for all seven of the DRI reviews published from 1997 to 2011. View these reports on the National Agricultural Library website.

It has become apparent that a number of unanticipated challenges were encountered when chronic disease endpoints were considered as indicators for setting DRI reference values. Many of these challenges were discussed in a 2007 “lessons learned” workshop conducted by the IOM after the first six DRI reports were published3. Other scientific publications have also discussed the challenges, but approaches for addressing the identified challenges have not yet been adequately explored.

Recently, the DRI Committees of the U.S. and Canadian governments called for nominations for nutrients to be considered for future DRI reviews. Many of the nominated nutrients cited new data on chronic disease relationships as the justification for new DRI reviews, including three of the four nutrients selected by the DRI Committees for further consideration based on the availability of sufficient new and relevant evidence. Given the clear need for more in-depth evaluation of the challenges involved in incorporating chronic disease endpoints into DRI processes prior to initiating a new DRI review, the two government committees sponsored the March 10 – 11, 2015 workshop to address whether, and how, chronic disease outcomes can be incorporated into the process of setting DRI values.

1 Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. 1994. How Should the Recommended Dietary Allowances Be Revised? National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
2 Dietary Reference Intakes: A Risk Assessment Model for Establishing Upper Intake Levels for Nutrients. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
3 The Development of DRIs 1994-2004: Lessons Learned and New Challenges, Workshop Summary, November 30, 2007. Available from: