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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


NUNEZ-RIVAS, Hilda Patricia; HOLST-SCHUMACHER, Ileana  and  CAMPOS-SABORIO, Natalia. New Diet Quality Index for children and adolescents in Costa Rica. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2020, vol.37, n.1, pp.65-72.  Epub June 08, 2020. ISSN 1699-5198.


there is an increasing interest in the study of total diet quality indicators through the study of food groups in certain dietary patterns.


to analyze the diet of students in Costa Rica with construction of a contextualized new diet quality index.

Material and methods:

a cross-sectional study was performed in a population of 2,677 students from 64 educational centers. Data on habits and food intake frequency were collected through interviews and questionnaires. A new Diet Quality Index was constructed and applied, which assessed the adjustment of intake frequency for 22 food groups, corrected with five preventive dietary factors and five risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases. Descriptive statistics were evaluated using the program SPSS, version 24.0. A p-value < 0.05 was considered significant.


the population was made up of 1,259 (43 %) men and 1,418 women (57 %). According to the new Diet Quality Index-Costa Rica classification, 1.2 % (n = 33) of participants have a healthy diet; 9.0 % (n = 239) require dietary changes, and 89.8 % (n = 2 395) have an unhealthy diet because of excessive intake of processed foods (rich in sodium and fat) and a low consumption of fruits and vegetables. Significant differences were found in the averages of the Diet Quality Index-Costa Rica by sex, educational level, and socioeconomic status.


around 90 % of the studied population do not comply with the recommendations issued for a healthy diet. Nutritional education should be strengthened in Costa Rican education centers.

Keywords : Diet; Students; Habits; Non-communicable diseases; Costa Rica.

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