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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 376314, 12 pages
Research Article

Examination of the Five Comparable Component Scores of the Diet Quality Indexes HEI-2005 and RC-DQI Using a Nationally Representative Sample of 2–18 Year Old Children: NHANES 2003–2006

1Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, 204 Stone Hall, 700 W. State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
2Department of Statistics, College of Science, Purdue University, 932 Mathematical Sciences Building, 150 N. University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2067, USA

Received 13 December 2012; Revised 18 June 2013; Accepted 11 July 2013

Academic Editor: Chrystalleni Lazarou

Copyright © 2013 Sibylle Kranz and George P. McCabe. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Obesity has been associated with low diet quality and the suboptimal intake of food groups and nutrients. Two composite diet quality measurement tools are appropriate for Americans 2–18 years old: the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2005 and the Revised Children’s Diet Quality Index (RC-DQI). The five components included in both indexes are fruits, vegetables, total grains, whole grains, and milk/dairy. Component scores ranged from 0 to 5 or 0 to 10 points with lower scores indicating suboptimal intake. To allow direct comparisons, one component was rescaled by dividing it by 2; then, all components ranged from 0 to 5 points. The aim of this study was to directly compare the scoring results of these five components using dietary data from a nationally representative sample of children (NHANES 2003–2006, ). Correlation coefficients within and between indexes showed less internal consistency in the HEI; age- and ethnic-group stratified analyses indicated higher sensitivity of the RC-DQI. HEI scoring was likely to dichotomize the population into two groups (those with 0 and those with 5 points), while RC-DQI scores resulted in a larger distribution of scores. The scoring scheme of diet quality indexes for children results in great variation of the outcomes, and researchers must be aware of those effects.