Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Mayur Desai

Second Advisor

Alicia Landry



Introduction: Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States. A good diet quality is essential to the health and well-being of children and adolescents. Little is known about the relationship between diet quality as measured by the 2010 Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2010) and adiposity measures in children and adolescents. The aim of this investigation is to determine if associations between diet quality and adiposity measures exist in United States children and adolescents. This investigation also aims to determine if these potential associations retain significance when accounting for sociodemographic characteristics know to be associated with diet quality.

Methods: A sample of 2,815 children and adolescents ages 2 to 18 years old from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2012 cycle were used for this study. Food intake was recorded during a 24-hour recall and diet quality was calculated using the HEI-2010. Multivariable linear regression analyses were used to examine associations between diet quality and measures of adiposity, controlling for sociodemographic characteristic.

Results: The mean total HEI-2010 score among the sample was 48.34 ± 0.44. Before adjustment of sociodemographic variables, total HEI-2010 score was found not to be associated with body mass index and waist-to-height ratio. After adjustment the association did not change in significance.


The results of this study suggest that diet quality may not be associated with measures of adiposity in children and adolescents when both are assessed in a cross-sectional manner.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access