Overview & Background
The Healthy Eating Index–2010 (HEI–2010) is the latest iteration of the HEI.
The HEI is a measure of diet quality, independent of quantity, that can be used
to assess compliance with the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans and monitor
changes in dietary patterns. The HEI also is a valuable tool for epidemiologic
and economic research and can be used to evaluate nutrition interventions and consumer
nutrition education programs.
The HEI is not a checklist or other type of dietary assessment instrument.
Those instruments are used when gathering data about what people eat. Rather,
the HEI is a scoring metric that can be used to determine the quality of a given
dietary pattern, set of foods, or menu.
All of the key Dietary Guidelines food choice recommendations that relate to
diet quality are reflected in HEI–2010's 12 components. Nine of the components
focus on adequacy (dietary components to increase) and three focus on moderation
(dietary components to decrease).
The performance of the HEI–2010 has been evaluated through an assessment of
its content validity, construct validity, and reliability. Results from the
evaluation are expected to be published in late 2013 and will be available on
this Web site.
Learn More About the Healthy Eating Index
Developing the HEI–2010 provides more information
about the HEI–2010 and how it differs from the HEI–2005.
Comparing the HEI–2005 & HEI–2010 provides an
overview of the key differences between the two versions, as well as a
Research Uses provides an overview of the types of
research that can be done using the HEI.
Tools for Researchers gives step-by-step
instructions on calculating scores and provides sample code for various types of
HEI–2005 Resources contains information about how the
HEI–2005 was developed and evaluated, gives examples of research applications,
and provides SAS code for creating scores.
For More Information provides a list of papers and
other resources on the HEI–2005 and how it has been used in research to assess
diet quality at various levels, including food supply, community, and individual
Visit the USDA
Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) Web site to learn more
about earlier versions of the HEI and how it has evolved over time.