The development of a Chinese Healthy Eating Index for School-age Children and its Application in children from China Health and Nutrition Survey

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Mar;72(2):280-291. doi: 10.1080/09637486.2020.1796930. Epub 2020 Jul 27.


This study aimed to develop a Chinese Healthy Eating Index for School-age Children (CHEI-SC), apply it in the 2011 China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) to assess dietary quality, and compared it with our former developed index named CHEI. Data of 3-day 24-hour diet recalls and household food inventory survey from 1600 school-age children in CHNS-2011 were used to develop the CHEI-SC, using the methods of standard portion size, energy-density-based approach, and least restrictive approach. The CHEI-SC included 19 components with a total score (T-score) ranging from 0 to 100. The investigated children had a median score of 49.6. Children with a higher T-score were more likely to have higher social economic status (SES), higher level of urbanisation, fewer family size, and regularly attending school. The CHEI-SC was able to assess dietary quality of Chinese school-age children, was sensitive to demographics, and more comprehensive and accurate than the CHEI.

Keywords: China Health and Nutrition Survey; Chinese school-age children; SES; demographics; dietary guidelines; dietary index.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • China
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Portion Size
  • Socioeconomic Factors