OBJECTIVE: Overall diet patterns may be a better predictor of disease risk than specific nutrients or individual foods. The purpose of this study is to examine how overall diet patterns relate to nutritional intake, body composition, and physiological measures of chronic disease risk among low-income, urban African American adolescents.
METHODS: Cross-sectional data were collected from two samples of African American adolescents (n = 317) from a low-income urban community, including dietary intake using the food frequency Youth/Adolescent Questionnaire and anthropometric measures. Serum cholesterol, serum lipoproteins, and glucose tolerance were measured in a subsample. Means testing compared differences in Healthy Eating Index (HEI) and Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) component and total scores. Pearson correlations examined how HEI and HEI-2010 scores related to nutrient, food intakes, and markers of disease risk, including body mass index, percent body fat, abdominal fat, serum cholesterol, serum lipoproteins, and impaired glucose tolerance. Fisher R-Z transformations compared magnitude differences between HEI and HEI-2010 correlations to nutritional intake and chronic disease risk.
RESULTS: Both HEI and HEI-2010 scores were positively associated with micronutrient intakes. Higher HEI scores were inversely related to serum cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, impaired glucose tolerance, percent body fat, and percent abdominal fat. HEI-2010 scores were not related to biomarkers of chronic disease risk.
CONCLUSIONS: Compared to the HEI-2010, the HEI is a better indicator of chronic disease risk among low-income, urban African American adolescents.