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Quality of US diet improves, gap widens for quality between rich and poor
Date:9/1/2014

The quality of the U.S. diet showed some modest improvement in the last decade in large measure because of a reduction in the consumption of unhealthy trans fats, but the gap in overall diet quality widened between the rich and the poor.

An unhealthy diet is closely linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. Eating a healthy diet is an important part of the strategy to prevent adverse health outcomes. Evaluating population trends in diet quality is important because it can offer guidance for public health policy.

The authors used the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI-2010) to investigate trends in diet quality in the U.S. adult population from 1999 to 2010 using a sample of 29,124 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). A higher AHEI-2010 score indicated a more healthful diet. The index's components were scored from 0 to 10. For fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, long-chain omega-3 fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), a higher score corresponded to higher intake. For trans fat, sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices, red and/or processed meat and sodium, a higher score corresponded to lower intake. The authors used a recently updated index, the Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI-2010) for further analysis.

The energy-adjusted average AHEI-2010 score increased from 39.9 in 1999- 2000 to 46.8 in 2009- 2010. Reduced trans fat intake accounted for more than half of this improvement. Scores increased by 0.9 points for sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juice reflecting decreased consumption. Score increases of 0.7 points for whole fruit, 0.5 points for whole grains, 0.5 points for PUFAs and 0.4 points for nuts and legumes reflected increased consumption. A decrease in scores for sodium reflected greater consumption. Having a lower body mass index (BMI) also was associated with dietary improvement. Diet quality scores in the high-socioeconomi
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Contact: Marjorie Dwyer
mhdwyer@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-8416
The JAMA Network Journals
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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