The Dietary Quality Score: validation and association with cardiovascular risk factors: the Inter99 study

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Feb;61(2):270-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602503. Epub 2006 Aug 23.


Objective: To develop and assess the validity of the Dietary Quality Score (DQS) and investigate the association with cardiovascular risk factors.

Design: Cross-sectional population-based study.

Setting: Copenhagen County, Glostrup, Denmark.

Subjects: A random sample of 12,934 men and women aged 30-60 years were invited to a health examination. A total of 6542 participants were included in the statistical analysis.

Methods: The DQS was developed using eight questions from a 48-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and validated using a 198-item FFQ. Associations between the DQS and fasting serum lipids, homocysteine, blood pressure and the absolute risk of ischaemic heart disease (IHD) were explored.

Results: A higher DQS was shown to be associated with higher dietary quality in general, including a low intake of fat, especially saturated fat; a high intake of fibre; various vitamins and minerals; and fruit, fish, vegetables and whole-grain products. A higher score according to the DQS was significantly negatively associated with total cholesterol (P=0.0031), triglyceride (P=0.0406), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (P=0.0071), homocysteine (P<0.0001) and the absolute risk of IHD (P<0.0001), adjusted for sex, age, smoking habits and physical activity level.

Conclusions: The DQS is a simple, valid and quick tool to make a rough classification of individuals into groups with high, average and low dietary quality. The DQS is negatively associated with serum lipids, homocysteine and the absolute risk of IHD.

Sponsorship: The Inter99 study is supported economically by The Danish Medical Research Council, The Danish Centre for Evaluation and Health Technology Assessment, Novo Nordisk, Copenhagen County, The Danish Heart Foundation, The Danish Pharmaceutical Association, Augustinus Foundation, Ib Henriksen Foundation and Becket Foundation, Copenhagen County.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Diet / standards*
  • Female
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / blood
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipids
  • Homocysteine