The Diet Quality Index revised: a measurement instrument for populations

J Am Diet Assoc. 1999 Jun;99(6):697-704. doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(99)00168-6.


Objective: To evaluate a revision of the Diet Quality Index called the Diet Quality Index Revised (DQI-R).

Design: The original Diet Quality Index was revised to reflect current dietary guidance, to incorporate improved methods of estimating food servings, and to develop and incorporate measures of dietary variety and moderation. The scoring of the original scale was reversed in direction and expanded to a 100-point scale to improve interpretability.

Methods/subjects: Data from the 1994 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals were used. A sample of 3,202 adults aged 18 and older contributed 2 days of dietary intake data based on 24-hour recalls for the development and revision of various components of the DQI-R.

Statistical analyses: Pearson correlation analyses, ordinary least squares regression analyses, and a nonparametric test to determine trends across ordered groups were used.

Results: The mean DQI-R score for the 1994 sample was 63.4 of a possible 100-point score. Sample respondents were more likely to have met dietary guidance in the areas of dietary cholesterol (66.9% met goal) and iron intakes (59.6% met goal) relative to the Recommended Dietary Allowances but less likely to have met goals related to fruit servings (19.6% met goal), grain servings (23.1% met goal), and calcium intakes (16.6% met goal) relative to the Recommended Dietary Allowance. There is a statistically significant quantitative and qualitative improvement in all components of the DQI-R as one moves from the lowest grouping of scores to the highest. For example, persons with DQI-R scores less than 40 consumed 43.9% of energy from fat, 72% of the Adequate Intake for calcium, and 6.7% of the recommended servings of fruit per day. In contrast, those with DQI-R scores greater than 80 consumed 24.2% of energy from fat, 101% of the Adequate Intake for calcium, and 137% of the recommended servings of fruit per day.

Applications: The DQI-R reflects the dietary guidance principles of macronutrient distribution, moderation, variety, and proportionality. Although the index was designed to monitor dietary changes in populations rather than individuals, each index component reflects an aspect of national dietary guidance. Calculation of DQI-R scores for an individual should provide an estimate of diet quality relative to national guidelines, and differences in scores over time should suggest improvement or decline in overall diet quality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diet / standards*
  • Diet Records
  • Diet Surveys*
  • Eating
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • United States