Keywords: dietary evaluation, diet quality, HEI, healthy eating index, adolescents, Egypt, children, eating patterns, nutrition education, health promotion
Evaluation of diet quality of Egyptian adolescents using healthy eating index
The aim of this study is to use the healthy eating index (HEI) to assess the diet quality of a representative sample of the Egyptian children and adolescents. HEI of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was applied with slight modifications to measure how well the studied Egyptian students' diet conforms to recommended healthy eating pattern. Our results showed that the average HEI score was 59.1 out of a possible 100 and it ranged from 20 to 86, only 0.5% of the students had HEI scores above 80; while 16.9%of them received scores below 50 and the majority (82.5%) had scores on the HEI between 51 and 80. In conclusion, the majority of Egyptian children and adolescents' eating patterns, as measured by the HEI, need improvement. The results of the index are useful in targeting nutrition education and health promotion activities.