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A comparison of diet quality indices in a nationally representative cross-sectional study of Iranian households

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-12-05, 00:00 authored by Sara Ebrahimi, Sarah McNaughtonSarah McNaughton, Rebecca LeechRebecca Leech, Morteza Abdollahi, Anahita Houshiarrad, Katherine LivingstoneKatherine Livingstone
Iranian diet quality has been evaluated using indices that have not been created based on Iranian dietary guidelines. This study aimed to examine the applicability of two diet quality indices by examining their associations with nutrient adequacy, nutrient intakes and sociodemographics.

Dietary data were collected using three 24-h dietary recalls from Iranian households. Nutrient adequacy was assessed using World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization 2002 (WHO/FAO) cut points. Household diet quality was calculated using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) and Diet Quality Index-International (DQI-I). Sociodemographics of the household members were assessed. Regression analyses were used to examine associations between diet quality and nutrient adequacy, and between sociodemographics and diet quality.

A total of 6935 households were included in the analysis. Higher household diet quality was associated with adequate intake of calcium (HEI: OR 1.11, 95% CI: 1.10, 1.13; DQI-I: OR 1.14, 95% CI: 1.13, 1.16), vitamin C (HEI: OR 1.19, 95% CI: 1.17, 1.20; DQI-I: OR 1.12, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.12) and protein (HEI: OR 1.01, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.02; DQI-I: OR 1.09, 95% CI: 1.08, 1.09). Higher household diet quality was associated with household heads who were older (> 56 years old) (HEI: β 2.06, 95% CI: 1.63, 2.50; DQI-I β 2.90, 95% CI: 2.34, 3.45), higher educated (college/university completed) (HEI: β 4.54, 95% CI: 4.02, 5.06; DQI-I: β 2.11, 95% CI: 1.45, 2.77) and living in urban areas (HEI: β 2.85, 95% CI: 2.54, 3.16; DQI-I: β 0.72, 95% CI: 0.32, 1.12).

Based on associations with nutrient adequacy and sociodemographics, the applicability of two diet quality indices for assessing the diet quality of Iranian households was demonstrated. Results also indicated DQI-I may be more applicable than HEI for evaluating Iranian nutrient adequacy. Findings have implications for the design and assessment of diet quality in Iranian populations. Future research should examine the link between these diet quality indices and health outcomes.



Nutrition Journal





Article number



1 - 11




London, Eng.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2020, The Author(s)