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J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Apr;104(4):576-84.

Healthy Eating Index scores are associated with blood nutrient concentrations in the third National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey.

Author information

  • 1Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Insititue, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) is a summary measure of dietary quality, based on a 100-point scale. Our objectives were to assess the HEI as a measure of dietary status through its correlation with nutritional biomarkers and to identify those biomarkers most associated with diet quality and healthful food intake patterns.

DESIGN:

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III, 1988-94.

SUBJECTS:

Adults (> or =17 years) with calculated HEI scores and blood nutrient data (n=16,467).

STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED:

Weighted crude and partial Pearson correlation coefficients (r) between HEI scores and blood nutrients were calculated. Geometric mean blood nutrient concentrations were calculated for five HEI score categories (ranging from < or =50 to >80).

RESULTS:

HEI score was positively correlated with serum (r=0.25) and red blood cell (r=0.27) folate, serum vitamins C (r=0.30) and E (r=0.21), and all serum carotenoids except lycopene (r=0.17 to 0.27). These blood nutrient concentrations were 21% to 175% higher for participants in the highest HEI score group (>80) compared with those in the lowest group (< or =50). Mean HEI scores were significantly (P<.0001) greater among the 42% of participants who took dietary supplements. Most correlations were attenuated when adjusted for additional factors.

CONCLUSIONS:

HEI score is correlated with a wide range of blood nutrients; the strongest relationships are with biomarkers of fruit and vegetable intake. These results are an important step in the validation of the HEI, emphasizing its potential as a tool for nutrition and health studies.

PMID:
15054343
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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