Graduation Date

Spring 5-7-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Corrine Hanson

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Lyden

Third Advisor

Ann Anderson-Berry


Background: Many people are living longer with chronic diseases costing billions in healthcare costs every year. Many things influence the risk of chronic diseases but one easily modified risk factor is diet. Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) and Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI-2010) diet quality indexes have been associated with chronic disease risk but has not been studied in disease risk in adolescents.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to look at adolescent girls’ diet quality scores compared with known adult values associated with chronic diseases and risk of mortality.

Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a previous 12-month randomized control trial that included 273 adolescent girls aged 13-14 years who were above the median BMI for their age. AHEI and AHEI-2010 scores were calculated from dietary intake assessed by 3-day food records provided at baseline, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. The distributions of scores were compared to scores that have been associated with breast cancer, COPD, CVD, stroke and diabetes.

Results: The total average energy intake was 1695.48 + 354 kcals/day. The mean AHEI score of the participants was 25.99 + 6.13 and 26.59 + 7.86 for AHEI-2010. Based on the AHEI scores, only 8% of the participants had scores that were protective against breast cancer. Of the AHEI-2010 scores, only 1 participant had a score that was protective against COPD and stroke; 6% of the participants had scores that were protective against CVD and major chronic disease; and 48% had scores that were protective against CHD and diabetes.

Conclusion: There is growing evidence that diet during specific times of growth and development can alter the risk for chronic diseases. The overall diet quality of our participants was poor with very few having scores that are preventive of chronic diseases.