Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) explained


The Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) for Australia and New Zealand are a set of recommendations for nutritional intake based on the current evidence. NRV analyses offer rich insight into your clients’ eating. 

In Professional, when you are creating clients and client resources such as meal plans, food records or 24hr recalls, you can compare your clients' intake against the NRVs. 

Your clients' NRVs are based on their personal details. You can set these details for each client in the client Profile on the Dashboard tab. Factors including age, sex, weight, pregnancy status, and lactation status all impact your clients' NRVs. 

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Once you've entered a client's personal details on their Dashboard tab, you can see their NRV values on their Nutrient targets tab. 

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Which NRV analyses should I use? 

There are a variety of NRVs to choose from. Here’s a quick recap of the types of NRVs available to you in Foodworks Professional so that you can use them appropriately to explore your clients' intake.  

NRV Definition What it means
Estimated Energy Requirements (EER)

The average dietary energy intake that is predicted to maintain energy balance in a healthy adult of defined age, gender, weight, height and level of physical activity, consistent with good health.

In children and pregnant and lactating women, the EER is taken to include the needs associated with the deposition of tissues or the secretion of milk at rates consistent with good health.

Used to estimate whether usual food intake provides adequate energy (kilojoules).
Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) A daily nutrient level estimated to meet the requirements of half the healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group. Used to estimate whether usual food intake provides adequate nutrients.
Adequate Intake (AI)

Used when an RDI cannot be determined.

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

When the AI is based on median intakes of healthy populations, this assessment is made with less confidence.

Usual intake at or greater than this level is likely to be adequate.

Note: Use RDIs if available, rather than AIs.

Upper Level of Intake (UL)

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

Note: In Foodworks no UL is set for magnesium, folate or niacin as these limits are based on supplement intake not food intake.

Usual nutrient intake above this level may place an individual at risk of adverse effects related to excessive nutrient intake.
Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) The average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98 per cent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group. (RDI = EAR + 2 standard deviations) Usual intake at or greater than this level is likely to be adequate.
Suggested Dietary Target (SDT) A daily average intake from food and beverages for certain nutrients that may help in prevention of chronic disease. Average intake may be based on the mean or median depending on the nutrient and available data. Usual intake at or greater than this level may help in the prevention of chronic disease.


National Health and Medical Research Council: Department of Health and Ageing, Commonwealth of Australia, 2006  Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Including Recommended Dietary Intakes.

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