Nutrient Reference Values

Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand (NRVs) assist dietitians, nutritionists and other health professionals when assessing dietary needs of individuals or groups.1 These values indicate nutrition needs, or indicate levels unsafe for consumption, and vary according to age, sex and life stage.

Each NRV is used for a different purpose; some are more suitable for individuals while others are useful for groups. NRVs are reviewed every five years to ensure they remain appropriate and useful and to ensure they align with the latest scientific evidence. Australia and New Zealand have NRVs for a wide range of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals (for example, protein, fats, sodium and calcium).

Below is a table of current NRVs, their definition and use.

NRV 
Definition
Individuals
Groups
EAR (Estimated Average Requirement)







A daily nutrient level estimated to meet the requirements of half the healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.







Used to examine the probability that usual intake is inadequate.







Used to estimate the prevalence of inadequate intakes within a group.







RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake)







The average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98%) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.







Usual intake at, or above, this level has a low probability of inadequacy.  Not used for groups.







AI (Average Intake)







The average daily nutrient intake level based on observed or experimentally-determined approximations or estimates of nutrient intake by a group (or groups) of apparently healthy people that are assumed to be adequate.







Usual intake at, or above, this level has a low probability of inadequacy.  Mean usual intake at, or above, this level implies a low prevalence of inadequate intake.







UL (Upper Level of Intake)







The highest average daily nutrient intake level likely to pose no adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general population. As intake increases above the UL, the potential risk of adverse effects increases.







Usual intakes at, or above, this level may place an individual at risk of adverse effects from excessive nutrient intakes.







Used to estimate the percentage of the population at potential risk of adverse effects from excessive nutrient intake.







SDTs (Suggested Dietary Targets)







A daily average intake from food and beverages for certain nutrients that may help in the prevention of chronic disease.







   

Table adapted from: National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand including recommended dietary intakes (2006). Available from: www.nhmrc.gov.au

In order to meet the NRVs, it is necessary to consume a diet consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which means a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day.



1 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand including recommended dietary intakes. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2006.