The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) is a measure of diet quality that assesses conformance to The Dietary Guidelines for Americans. USDA’s primary use of the HEI is to monitor the diet quality of the U.S. population and the low-income subpopulation. For this purpose the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) uses the data collected via 24-hour dietary recalls in national surveys. The HEI is also used to examine relationships between diet and health-related outcomes, and to assess the quality of food assistance packages, menus, and the US food supply. The original HEI was created by CNPP in 1995. Updates to the HEI are through collaboration between CNPP and partners at the National Cancer Institute, to reflect the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and updated in 2012 to reflect the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The HEI-2010 is described in detail in two papers: one describing the update from HEI-2005 to HEI-2010 and another describing the validation of the 2010. The update to the HEI-2010 is also summarized in a fact sheet. Guidance for researchers is available which includes a SAS program for calculating HEI-2010 scores is available. Several reports are available below. Clicking “view all” in the bottom right of the screen will expand the list.
The HEI-2005 was described in a fact sheet and in a technical report on its development and evaluation, and in two articles published in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (vol. 108, pages 1854 and 1896). Reports of population scores, listed below, are available as are support files, including a documented version of the SAS program and Excel worksheet used to estimate the scores and links to the necessary databases. An article on the population ratio method for calculating HEI scores was published in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition (vol. 138, page 1725).
Archived data files for the original HEI are available here for historical purposes.