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Fiber Intake Varies by Poverty-Income Ratio and Race/Ethnicity in the US Adults

McAnulty, Joanne T. RD; Akabas, Sharon R. PhD; Thuppal, Sowmyanarayanan V. MD, PhD; Paxson, Erin E. MS, MPH; Saklani, Shilpa MS; Tucker, Katherine L. PhD; Bailey, Regan L. PhD, MPH, RD

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000207
Food Science

Fiber has been identified as both a ‘shortfall nutrient’ and a ‘nutrient of public health concern.’ However, little is known about dietary fiber intake relative to poverty-income ratio (PIR) and race/ethnicity in US adults. We examined usual intakes of dietary fiber and compliance with the adequate intake (AI) in US adults (≥19 years) using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011 to 2012 by PIR and race/ethnicity. Among both men and women, significantly higher fiber intake was observed among those in the highest PIR category (men, 22 [SE, 0.8]; women, 18 [SE, 0.6]) compared with those in the lowest category (men, 20 [SE, 0.7]; women, 15 [SE, 0.4]) and the middle category (men, 19 [SE, 0.7]; women, 15 [SE, 0.6]). Although men had higher intake of fiber across all PIR and race/ethnic groups, women had higher prevalence of intake above the AI. Among men, non-Hispanic blacks (17 [SE, 0.8]) had significantly lower intake; whereas among women non-Hispanic blacks (14 [SE, 0.4]) and Hispanic and Mexican Americans (16 [SE. 0.8]) had significantly lower intake compared with the other race/ethnic groups. Asian American women have the highest likelihood of fiber intake that exceeds the AI recommendation. Overall, fiber intake of US adults remains below federal recommendations. Systematic differences in fiber intake occur by PIR and race. Therefore, it is particularly salient to target intervention and education efforts to increase intake of dietary fiber in these groups.

Joanne T. McAnulty, RD, is a recent graduate of Nutrition and Dietetics in Dublin Institute of Technology and was a visiting student scholar at Purdue University during the time of this study.

Sharon R. Akabas, PhD, is the director of MS Nutrition Program and associate director of Educational Initiatives of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University, in New York, New York.

Sowmyanarayanan V. Thuppal, MD, PhD, is a physician and a postdoctoral research associate at the Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Erin E. Paxson, MS, MPH, is a Senior Learning & Culture Specialist in Venice, California. Previously, she studied Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and was the administrative manager for the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University, New York, New York.

Shilpa Saklani, MS, is a statistician/data analyst at the Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Science, Center for Population Health, University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Katherine L. Tucker, PhD, is a professor of Nutritional Epidemiology in the Department of Biomedical and Nutritional Sciences and director of the Center for Population Health at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She also holds adjunct appointments at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is currently the editor of Advances in Nutrition, an international review journal, and a member of the IOM Food and Nutrition Board.

Regan L. Bailey, PhD, MPH, RD, is an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. Previously, Dr Bailey was a nutritional epidemiologist and director of Career Development and Outreach at the Office of Dietary Supplements, Office of Disease Prevention at the National Institutes of Health.

This work was supported through an unrestricted educational grant to Columbia University by Pharmavite, LLC.

Dr Akabas received an honorarium as symposium director as part of the educational grant Columbia University received from Pharmavite, LLC. She is also receiving an honorarium as co-director of the June 17, 2017 symposium which is supported by an additional unrestricted educational grant received by Columbia University from Pharmavite, LLC. Dr Tucker is a consultant with the Multicountry Latin American Diet Survey (ELANS), funded by CocaCola. All other authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Regan L. Bailey, PhD, MPH, RD, Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, Stone Hall, Room 143A, 700 West State St, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (

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