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Diet quality among Iranian adolescents needs improvement

  • Leila Azadbakht (a1) (a2), Fahime Akbari (a1) (a2) and Ahmad Esmaillzadeh (a1) (a2)



Diet in adolescence is important not only because of adolescents’ rapid growth but also due to its influence on future chronic diseases. On the other hand, dietary quality indices are noteworthy and useful approaches to evaluate dietary intakes. Thus the present study was conducted to assess dietary quality indices in adolescents.




The data were collected from schools in Isfahan, Iran.


Female students (n 265) aged 11–13 years were enrolled using systematic cluster-random sampling in Isfahan (Iran). Dietary intakes were assessed by a validated FFQ. Diet quality indices including dietary diversity score (DDS), the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) and mean adequacy ratio (MAR) across ten nutrients were calculated.


Mean DDS, HEI score and MAR were 6·15 (sd 1·61) out of 10 points, 63·90 (sd 19·86) out of 100 points and 1·32 (sd 0·61), respectively. Mean nutrient adequacy ratio of all nutrients was above 1 except for vitamin D (0·53 (sd 0·51)). Those in the highest tertile of DDS had the most favourable anthropometric variables in comparison to the lowest tertile. There were no significant associations between HEI score and BMI, central or abdominal obesity and blood pressure. Those in the highest tertile of MAR had higher BMI, waist circumference and hip circumference.


Diet quality of Isfahani adolescents needs improvement. It may imply the necessity of implementing nutritional instructive policies in this age group and their parents.

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Public Health Nutrition
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