Using the Interactive Healthy Eating Index to Assess the Quality of College Students' Diets

Hiza, Hazel; Gerrior, Shirley A.
January 2002
Family Economics & Nutrition Review;2002, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p3
Academic Journal
The Interactive Healthy Eating Index (IHEI) is an Internet application of the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)--a single summary measure of overall diet quality that was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We used this application to assess the quality of the diets of 100 students at a State university. Paired sample t tests were used to analyze students' 1-day dietary records to compare students' mean HEI and component scores with dietary recommendations. The mean overall HEI score (67.2 of a possible 100) for the total sample exceeded the national average for a similar age group by 6.3 points. Students who were female, less than 20 years old, or nonscience majors had the highest HEI scores. While the students' overall HEI score was higher than the national average, students' diets still need improvement. Our findings show that the IHEI can be applied in a university setting to analyze the quality of students' diets. The IHEI can also be used as a valuable component of collegiate introductory nutrition and health courses.


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