Coronary heart disease prevention in the primary care setting, where time is extremely limited, requires valid instruments that efficiently screen for unhealthy lifestyle habits. Identification of the individuals who would most benefit from dietary intervention is particularly important in this context. We used dietary intake data derived from a full-length food frequency questionnaire to simulate responses to our previously validated short dietary quality screener. We determined the prospective association of the resulting diet-quality index (DQI) with changes in anthropometric and cardiometabolic risk variables in 2181 men and women in a 10-year follow-up. Multiple linear regression analyses revealed that a higher DQI score at baseline related directly (P=0.002) to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and inversely (P<0.016) to waist circumference (WC), triacylglycerides (TG), the TG to HDL-C ratio and the total cholesterol to HDL-C ratio at follow-up. A low DQI score is predictive for an increase in WC and the development of an unfavourable cardiometabolic profile.