Trends in Diet Quality by Race/Ethnicity among Adults in the United States for 2011–2018

Meng Hua Tao, Jia Liang Liu, Uyen Sa D.T. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study aimed to investigate time trends in diet quality and the consumption of major food groups and nutrients by race/ethnicity among adults in the United States. Dietary data from 19,192 adults aged ≥ 20 years from four National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) cycles (2011–2018) were included. The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2015 scores (range: 0–100; higher scores indicate better diet quality) and dietary consumption of food groups and nutrients were estimated for each cycle. Linear regression was used to test trends. For the overall population, the estimated overall HEI-2015 scores significantly decreased (p for trend = 0.011). However, decreases were observed in the estimated consumption of added sugars and total carbohydrates, while the estimated consumption of soy products and polyunsaturated fatty acids was significantly increased. A significant decrease in overall HEI-2015 score was observed in the non-Hispanic white group, but not in other racial/ethnic groups. Decreases in added sugar intake were found in the non-Hispanic black and Hispanic groups; sodium intake significantly decreased in the non-Hispanic Asian group. From 2011 to 2018, there was a decrease in estimated overall diet quality in US adults; however, there were improvements in certain nutrients and dietary components. Nevertheless, disparities in diet quality exist among racial/ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4178
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • adults
  • diet quality
  • disparity
  • race/ethnicity


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