A diet quality index (DQI) provides a summary measure of overall diet quality. It represents a collection of scores applied to selected dietary components deemed to be representative of a healthy diet. Internationally, measures of overall diet quality have been associated with chronic disease risk and health outcomes.
This paper presents preliminary work in developing an Australian DQI, named the Australian Healthy Eating Index (Aust-HEI). The Aust-HEI is based on previously published DQIs and adapted for use with nutrition data from a food frequency questionnaire and short dietary questions. This preliminary work utilises data from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and short dietary questions (SDQ). The Aust-HEI focuses on usual consumption of food and dietary behaviours, and consists of seven variables representing three dietary aspects—dietary variety, fruit and vegetable consumption, and fat (particularly saturated fat) consumption. These three elements have all been shown to relate to chronic disease risk, and are weighted equally in the Aust-HEI.