Dietary intakes of choline in US infants, children and women

Choline, an essential nutrient, is present in human milk and important for brain function. Adequate intakes (AIs) for choline were established by the IOM in 1998, but nationally representative estimates of intake are limited.

To assess intakes and sources of choline in diets of US non-breastfed infants, children 1-12 yrs and women 18-45 yrs, using NHANES 1999-2004 data.

Method and Results
The choline database for survey foods was completed using USDA’s latest food composition and recipe databases. Using SUDAAN, choline intakes were (mean ± SE) 84 ± 2.7 and 134 ± 2.8 mg/day in months 0-6 and 7-12, for non-breastfed infants (n = 1034), and 216 ± 4.1, 214 ± 4.0, and 244 ± 3.4 mg/day, for 1-2, 3-5, and 6-12 yr old children, respectively (n = 6940). Intakes for non-pregnant/non-lactating and pregnant/lactating women 18-45 yrs were 262 ± 3.9 vs 322 ± 10.5 mg/day (n = 4174). Total choline intakes from infant formula and dairy were 88% and 4% in months 0-6, and 41% and 18% in months 7-12. For ages 1-5 yrs, dairy was the highest contributor providing up to 39%, but for 6-12 yr olds meats/fish was the highest. For women, meats/fish and dairy provided up to 39% and 25% of choline intakes, respectively.

It is not known if choline requirements are met by endogenous synthesis; nonetheless, choline intakes for US non-breastfed infants, children, and women 18-45 yrs are lower than the recommended AIs.


Dietary intakes of choline in US infants, children and women. Samuel P, Keast DR, Rai D et al. (2007) FASEB Journal 21:lb216

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