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Diet quality: Average diet quality scoresa using the Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015) for children ages 2–17 by age group 2013–2014

excel icon HEALTH6 Excel Table

Dietary component Ages 2–17 Ages 2–5 Ages 6–11 Ages 12–17
Total HEI-2015 Score (maximum score = 100) 54.9 60.2 52.7 53
Adequacy Components
Total fruit (5) 3.6 5.0 3.5 2.8
Whole fruit (5) 4.6 5.0 4.5 3.7
Total vegetables (5) 2.3 2.1 2.2 2.5
Greens and Beans (5) 1.9 1.7 1.7 2.1
Total protein foods (5) 4.7 4.0 4.2 5.0
Seafood and plant proteins (5) 3.0 3.2 2.8 3.1
Whole grains (10) 3.0 3.9 2.9 2.8
Dairy (10) 8.9 10.0 9.0 8.2
Fatty acids (10) 2.7 2.3 2.3 3.4
Moderation Components
Refined Grains (10) 4.7 5.3 4.2 4.9
Sodium (10) 4.4 5.3 4.9 3.5
Saturated Fats (10) 5.1 5.2 4.6 5.5
Added Sugars (10) 6.1 7.2 6.0 5.6
a Calculated using the population ratio method.
NOTE: The Healthy Eating Index -2015(HEI-2015) is a measure of diet quality used to assess how well a set of foods aligns with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The HEI-2015 includes 13 components that can be summed to a maximum total score of 100 points. The components capture the balance among food groups, including those to encourage, called adequacy components, and those for which there are limits, called moderation components. For the adequacy components, higher scores reflect higher intakes that meet or exceed the standards. For the moderation components, higher scores reflect lower intakes, because lower intakes are more desirable. A higher total score indicates a diet that aligns better with the Dietary Guidelines. Starting with America's Children 2018 report, the average diet quality scores for children have been updated using the HEI-2015 which reflects the key recommendations in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Healthy Eating Index- 2015.