What Is Healthy Living Index?

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The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) is a scale for assessing the nutritional quality of a diet. The Index aligns with the World Health Organization’s definition of health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are meant for nutrition and health-care professionals to assist individuals (2 years old and older) and families in achieving a healthy and nutritious diet for healthier communities.

Healthy Living Index History

The HEI was originally developed in 1995 as a test to see how closely Americans are adhering to nutrition guidelines. In 2005, the HEI’s structure was changed and subsequently updated twice since then. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans key recommendations are fully met by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Healthy Living Index Scoring

A score is assigned to each item in a data collection by the HEI. The scores vary from 0 to 100. An overall HEI score of 100 indicates that the group of foods complies with important dietary recommendations set forth in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ 13 components are used to create the overall HEI score. The How the HEI is Scored Page explains in further detail about these components and their contribution to the total score. For additional information on all of this, see the HEI Scores for Americans support page.

The overall HEI-2015 score for Americans is 59 out of 100. This range of dietary components, view of total diet quality reveals that the typical American’s diet does not meet nutritional standards. A modest decline in Dietary Guidelines adherence was observed during 2013-2014 compared to 2005-2012, with an improvement recorded over time; however, there is still room for improvement. Every step closer to following a diet that adheres to Dietary Guidelines recommendations can help reduce some factors the risk of developing diet-related chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes.

The shift from current eating habits to ones that are in line with the Dietary Guidelines might be aided by collective action across society. Everyone has a part in promoting health outcomes, including at home, in school, at work groups, and in community members, local government across the United States.

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) has a number of tools on ChooseMyPlate.gov to assist Americans in making food selections following dietary guidelines, healthy lifestyle that are consistent with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to build healthier communities. The resources for the Healthy Eating Index are accessible on the Resources page. the efforts is to reduce risk of chronic disease, reduce smoking, overweight, obesity, cancer while improve physical activity, healthy lifestyles, improve overall diet quality to become healthy places to live in for women, adults and children.

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