Healthy Eating Index


Original Image by USDA via Flickr
Original Image by USDA via Flickr

By:Nikki Nies

 The USDA’s Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI) measures the diet quality of Americans and our adherence with Dietary Guidelines.  HEI monitors changes in trends and patterns.  The index is also a great tool for research and  evaluation of nutrition interventions and epidemiological needs.

To clarify, the index isn’t a checklist, but a scoring system to be used to assess the quality of  a program, food, menu and/or dietary pattern.  The index focuses on the five food groups, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium content.  There are three components that focus on moderation and nine components focus on dietary adequacy and how to increase that intake.

The HEI is a sum of the components, with each component with a maximum score of 10.  Essentially, like an  exam, high component scores indicate intakes close to the recommended ranges or amounts.  Lower component scores indicate less compliance with the recommended ranges or amounts.  To learn more, check out the data archives!

Sources: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/HealthyEatingIndex.htm

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/NutritionInsights/Insight52.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/hei.htm

http://appliedresearch.cancer.gov/hei/

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