Background: The importance of healthy eating habits increases in adolescence therefore, healthy eating index (HEI) and diet diversity score (DDS) are embedded in order to evaluate them. This study was undertaken to assess the diet quality of high school students in Shiraz, southern Iran.
Methods: This cross-sectional study enrolled 696, fourteen to twenty years old teenage boys and girls in Shiraz, southern Iran. Anthropometric indices including weight, height and waist circumference (WC) were measured. A 168-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used to estimate usual dietary intakes, then HEI and DDS were calculated. Two physical activity questionnaires, one related to sitting activities and another about other activities were completed by participants.
Results: Among 341 boys and 355 girls, 51.4%, 31.2% and 17.4% had were normal, underweight, and overweight or obese, respectively. Mean WC of participants was 71.7±10.71 cm. The mean of HEI score was 57.6±6.8. Only 0.2% of students had a good diet. The mean of DD Score was 6.4±1.3. About 23.5% of participants had highly diverse diet. A statistically significant higher HEI score (girls: 58.8±7.0, boys: 56.4±6.4) and lower DDS score (6.7±1.3 vs 6.1±1.2) were noticed in girls compared to boys. A positive association was seen between fruits and vegetables diversity score and negative relation between breads/grains, meat and dairies diversity scores with HEI.
Conclusion: Dietary habits of most of junior and senior high school students in Shiraz needed moderate to severe improvements. So it is necessary to promote adolescent s nutritional knowledge and attitudes.