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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Around the Block Nutrition Facts at a Glance: Percent Daily Values

Around the Block Parent Sitelet

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Percent Daily Values (% DV)

The Percent Daily Values (% DV) on the Nutrition Facts Label are a general guide to help you measure the nutrients in one serving of food. This information lets you see each food's contribution of nutrients to your child's overall daily diet. It tells how much of a certain nutrient a person will get from eating one serving of that food. For example, if a serving of food has 15% daily value of calcium , then that serving of food is providing 15% of the daily calcium needs for someone who needs 2000 calories a day.

Keep in mind that the daily values found on Nutrition Facts Labels are based upon consuming an average diet of 2,000 calories per day. The actual Daily Value for your required calorie level may be different than what is on the label. (Go to http://www.choosemyplate.gov for more information about your specific daily calorie needs.)

Percent Daily Value is useful for determining whether a food is high or low in certain nutrients:
  • If a food has 5% or less of a nutrient, it's considered to be low in that nutrient.
  • If it has 20% or more, it's considered to be high in that nutrient.
With the numbers 5% and 20% as your guide, you can help your child choose foods rich in the nutrients they should get more of and low in nutrients they should get less of. The Percent Daily Values information can also help parents decide what should be a "sometimes" food and which foods are more healthful choices for their kids.

Adapt Nutrient Requirements to Your Child's Needs

The actual number of calories and nutrients that your child requires is going to vary according to your child's age, weight, gender, and level of physical activity. For more guidance on this, check with the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid at http://www.choosemyplate.gov. This guide will help you assess each child individually to determine his or her specific needs.