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In India, the concept of Recommended Dietary Allowance for Indians dates back to the 1940s. The first attempt to define nutrient requirements and dietary guidelines for Indians to maintain good health was made by Nutrition Advisory Committee of the Indian Research Fund Association now known as Indian Council of Medical Research in 1944. RDA for Indians was revised in 1960 by expert group, for calories and proteins.


What is Recommended Dietary Allowance or RDA?

To put in simple terms, Recommended Dietary Allowance or RDA is nothing but the nutrient requirement that is needed for the maintenance of health in all. Individuals have been classified based on the work, weight, sex and age. Workers have been categorized as sedentary worker (eg lawyer, teacher, doctor), moderate worker (carpenter, tailor, plumber) and heavy worker (coal miner, steel worker,). With a body weight of 60 kgs, a male worker doing sedentary or light work requires 2320 cal/day and a woman of 55 kgs requires 1900 cal/day. Similarly, protein requirement for teenage boys with a average body weight of 47.6kgs is 54.3 g/d and that of girls is 51.9 g/d.

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Use of RDA

The purpose of these guidelines is to inform us how much of a specific nutrient our body needs on a daily basis. RDA is used for the following reasons:
• To develop the nutritional education program
• To develop and evaluate new products
• Helps developing guidelines for public food program
• To understand nutritional needs of different individuals
• Serves as the basis of food programs like school lunch program

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