HEI Scores for Examining the Effect of an Intervention

For assessing the effects of interventions, researchers can use the approaches described here for estimating means or distributions of HEI scores for populations, subpopulations, or groups. For example, the mean or distribution of HEI scores can be compared between intervention and control groups. However, when interpreting their results, researchers should be aware that the intervention itself may have an effect on reporting of diet (that is, lead to reactivity bias).

HEI Scores for Individual Level Clinical Use

The HEI SAS code to estimate scores per person calculates HEI component and total scores for each individual (using multiple recalls, if available, for a single respondent), and the HEI SAS code to estimate scores per day calculates corresponding scores for each recall (i.e., each individual’s reported 1-day intake).

Describing Dietary Intake for a Single Individual (e.g. clinical use)*

Purpose Method Data Considerations & Caveats
To calculate total and component HEI scores for an individual’s one-day intake Simple HEI scoring algorithm Single 24HR

Yields HEI scores for a single day, contrary to the recommendation that HEI be based on usual intake

To calculate total and component HEI scores for an individual’s n-day intake Simple HEI scoring algorithm Multiple 24HRs

Yields HEI scores for n-day intake, contrary to the recommendation that HEI be based on usual intake

To calculate total and component HEI scores for an individual Simple HEI scoring algorithm FFQ

Estimates usual intake over the time frame of the FFQ

Biased because FFQ-reported intakes are usually biased

* Note: HEI standards are NOT equivalent to an individual’s intake needs. This should be taken into account in the interpretation of an individual’s HEI scores.

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