Diet Quality, Social Determinants, and Weight Status in Puerto Rican Children Aged 12 Years

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014 Aug;114(8):1230-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.01.011. Epub 2014 Mar 20.


Diet quality may be influenced by social determinants and weight status. This has not been studied in Puerto Rico; therefore, our cross-sectional study examined whether diet quality, assessed by the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005), differs by social determinants (sex, school type, and region) and weight status in children in Puerto Rico. As part of an island-wide study to evaluate oral health in 1,550 children aged 12 years, dietary intake was assessed in a representative subset (n=796) using a 24-hour diet recall. Diet quality was evaluated from the diet recall results using the HEI-2005. Overall mean HEI-2005 score was 40.9, out of a total maximum score of 100. Girls had significantly higher scores for whole fruit, total vegetables, whole grains, and sodium but lower scores for total grains and milk compared with boys (P<0.05). Children from public schools had higher scores for total fruit, whole fruit, and dark green and orange vegetables and legumes, but lower scores for whole grains and milk compared with those from private schools (P<0.05). Children from the central mountains had higher scores for the dark green and orange vegetables and legumes and for whole fruit compared with the other regions (P<0.05). Overweight children had significantly higher scores for total vegetables and milk, but lower scores for total fruit and sodium compared with non-overweight children (P<0.01). Some components of diet quality were associated with the social determinants studied and with weight status in our sample. Overall diet quality needs improvement in Puerto Rican children so that it is better aligned with dietary recommendations.

Keywords: Childhood obesity; Diet quality; Healthy Eating Index-2005; Hispanic; Social determinants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dairy Products
  • Diet*
  • Edible Grain
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Puerto Rico / epidemiology
  • Schools
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vegetables