The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) is a measure of diet quality, independent of quantity that can be used to assess compliance with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and monitor changes in dietary patterns. The HEI also is a valuable tool for epidemiologic and economic research and can be used to evaluate nutrition interventions and consumer nutrition education programs.
The HEI is not a checklist or other type of dietary assessment instrument. Those instruments are used when gathering data about what people eat. Rather, the HEI is a scoring metric that can be used to determine the quality of a given dietary pattern, set of foods, or menu.
All of the key Dietary Guidelines food choice recommendations that relate to diet quality are reflected in components for the HEI. Some components focus on adequacy (dietary components to increase) and others focus on moderation (dietary components to decrease).
For more information on the HEI, please visit this Web page.
An HEI score for each participant can be calculated using DHQ II Diet*Calc output using the SAS program provided below.
Note: The Diet*Calc database was updated in January 2015 to provide the necessary variables for HEI scoring. Any data run through Diet*Calc before this time will need to be rerun for the purpose of calculating HEI scores.
The SAS program (and the two required SAS macros) and associated Readme document provided below provide the tools necessary for calculating HEI scores:
SAS programs for using DHQ II data to calculate the HEI-2010 and HEI-2015 are available: