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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

July 2023 EGRP Cancer Epidemiology News

EGRP Cancer Epidemiology News

Now Available: New Iterations of the Healthy Eating Index

NCI’s Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP), of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), and the United States’ Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service released two new iterations of the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) – HEI-2020 and HEI-Toddlers-2020.

The HEI is a scoring metric that can be used to determine overall diet quality, as well as the quality of several dietary components. It is a valuable tool for epidemiologic research and can be used to evaluate nutrition interventions and consumer nutrition education programs.

The HEI was first released in 1995 and has been updated every 5 years to assess alignment with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). HEI–2020 is the most recent version of the index for the American population age 2 years and older. New in 2023 is the HEI-Toddlers-2020, which was created to align with new dietary recommendations for infants and toddlers in the 2020-2025 DGA.


HEI-2020 can be used to assess alignment with the 2020-2025 DGA. Components and standards did not change between HEI-2015 and HEI-2020, thus after evaluating the index, only the name changed. Of note:

  • the USDA Dietary Patterns remained virtually the same in the 2015-2020 and 2020-2025 DGA;
  • there were no major changes in the key recommendations for children and adults ages 2 and older; and
  • the state of the US diet has not changed significantly since 2015.
The name change connotes that the index was evaluated and aligns with most current guidance. See the HEI-2020 and HEI-2015 components and scoring standards.


HEI-Toddlers-2020, like HEI-2020, has 13 components reflecting all constituents of complementary foods and beverages consumed by toddlers, except for human milk, infant formula, or other nutritional formulas such as toddler milks or follow-on formula. Healthy dietary patterns for toddlers have unique considerations reflected in the scoring standards, particularly for added sugars and saturated fats. For example, the DGA recommends that because toddlers have lower caloric intake relative to high nutrient needs, added sugars should be avoided. Another distinctive difference is that there is no recommendation to limit saturated fats to less than 10 percent of energy intake in this age group; however, saturated fats cannot be unlimited without displacing the energy available to achieve other food group and subgroup goals. See the HEI-Toddlers-2020 components and scoring standards.

For more information, attend this webinar on September 7, 2023, from 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET: Measuring Diet Quality Across the Lifespan: Introducing the New Healthy Eating Index-Toddlers-2020 and Healthy Eating Index-2020External Web Site Policy. Also, more details are available on NCI’s HEI web pages, including:

For questions about HEI, contact

Funding Opportunities

  • Advancing Cancer Control Equity Research Through Transformative Solutions
    • RFA-CA-23-026, Research Center (U19, Clinical Trial Optional)
    • RFA-CA-23-027, Coordination Center (U24, Clinical Trial Optional)
      *A webinar about these RFAs took place on July 11, 2023.
  • Maximizing the Scientific Value of Data Generated by the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program
    • RFA-OD-23-019, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32)
    • RFA-OD-23-020, Dissertation Grant (R36)
  • RFA-RM-23-013, Partnerships With Common Fund Data Ecosystem Resources (U24, Clinical Trial not Allowed)
  • PAR-23-219, SBIR/STTR Commercialization Readiness Pilot (CRP) Program Technical Assistance and Late Stage Development (SB1, Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • PA-23-230, PHS 2023-2 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH, CDC and FDA for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications (Parent SBIR [R43/R44], Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • PA-23-231, PHS 2023-2 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH and CDC for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications (Parent SBIR [R43/R44], Clinical Trial Required)
  • PA-23-232, PHS 2023-2 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH for Small Business Technology Transfer Grant Applications (Parent STTR [R41/R42], Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • PA-23-233, PHS 2023-2 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH for Small Business Technology Transfer Grant Applications (Parent STTR [R41/R42], Clinical Trial Required)
  • PA-23-189, Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Admin Supp, Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • NOT-OD-23-151, Notice of Prize Competition for the DataWorks! - NIH FASEB Challenge
  • NOT-CA-23-071, Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Administrative Supplements for Enhancing Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Populations to Cancer Screening, Cancer Prevention and Symptom Management Clinical Trials
  • NOT-CA-23-037, NOSI: Technology Development for Cancer Control and Population Science Research
  • NOT-AG-23-032, NOSI: Administrative Supplement Program to Help Develop Alzheimer’s-Focused NIH Grants
  • NOT-RM-23-018, Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS): Health Equity Research Hubs (UC2, Clinical Trial Optional)

Grants Policy Announcements

  • NOT-OD-23-153, Update – NIH Response to Registration Issues in
  • NOT-OD-23-156, Review Integrity and Bias Awareness Training will be Required for NIH Reviewers Effective May 2024 Council Round
  • NOT-OD-23-149, The Use of Generative Artificial Intelligence Technologies is Prohibited for the NIH Peer Review Process
  • NOT-OD-23-139, Implementation of the NIH SBIR and STTR Foreign Disclosure Pre-award and Post-Award Requirements
  • Extramural Loan Repayment Program

Requests for Information

  • NOT-RM-23-013, NIH Common Fund is Soliciting Ideas for NIH-wide Challenges and Opportunities (responses due by August 11, 2023)

Training Opportunities

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