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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, 2017–2018

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Dietary component Maximum points Ages 2–17 Ages 2–5 Ages 6–11 Ages 12–17
Total HEI–2015 Score 100.0 54.5 61.1 53.2 50.7
Adequacy Components
Total Fruit 5.0 3.8 5.0 3.8 2.7
Whole Fruit 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 3.7
Total Vegetables 5.0 2.1 2.1 1.9 2.3
Greens and Beans 5.0 1.5 1.7 1.4 1.5
Total Protein Foods 5.0 3.0 3.0 3.3 2.8
Seafood and Plant Proteins 5.0 7.5 9.8 7.4 6.5
Whole Grains 10.0 4.6 4.1 4.3 4.9
Dairy 10.0 3.1 3.1 2.9 3.2
Fatty Acids 10.0 3.1 2.7 2.9 3.6
Moderation Components
Refined Grains 10.0 4.7 5.8 4.4 4.5
Sodium 10.0 5.2 6.6 5.6 4.3
Saturated Fats 10.0 6.1 7.1 6.0 5.8
Added Sugars 10.0 4.6 5.0 4.4 4.7
a Calculated using the population ratio method.
NOTE: The Healthy Eating Index–2015 (HEI-2015) is a measure of diet quality with 13 components used to assess how well a set of foods aligns with the key recommendations of the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Intakes equal to or better than the standards set for each component are assigned a maximum score. Maximum HEI-2015 component scores range from 5 to 10 points. Scores for intakes between the minimum and maximum standards are scored proportionately. Scores for each component are summed to create a total maximum HEI-2015 score of 100 points. Nine of the 13 components assess adequacy components. The remaining four components assess dietary components that should be consumed in moderation. For the adequacy components, higher scores reflect higher intakes. 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. HEI–2015 total and component scores reflect usual dietary intakes among children ages 2–17 in the United States, during 2017–2018. Due to rounding, HEI component scores in each age group may not add up precisely to the total HEI score.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Cancer Institute; and National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.