New NCCOR project translates research into applications for the Healthy Eating Index

In April, NCCOR launched a series of new communication tools and technologies that translate and disseminate research applications of the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) for researchers, practitioners, and decision makers and ultimately highlight changes needed to enable healthier food choices for all Americans.

The HEI is a tool designed to measure diet quality—that is, how closely an eating pattern or combination of foods matches the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. It was developed by scientists at two of NCCOR’s funding partners: the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion; and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Applied Research Program, part of the National Institutes of Health.

NCI researchers conducted a study using the HEI-2010 to examine the quality of the U.S. food supply. They found that the food supply is not sufficiently balanced to provide the recommended amounts of various foods and nutrients. The findings have been submitted to the Journal of Nutrition.

NCCOR helped illustrate the study’s findings using multiple formats to shed light on the problem, suggest solutions, and encourage dialogue on the issue. Researchers can use the products developed to: complement current and future research; enhance presentations; build influence in social media platforms; and engage decision makers poised to make change.

The communication products included:

  • An animated video that describes how food moves from the farm to our plates and distills research findings in an engaging, shareable format
  • A fact sheet that explains the HEI scoring metric in greater detail
  • A series of four infographics that complement the video

NCCOR is also working on a complementary project that involves developing a series of photos that describe each level of the food supply and various HEI scores.

When the study is published, NCCOR will promote the video and infographics through its blog, e-newsletter, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel. The Coordinating Center will also share the package with research organizations, professional associations, media, and others in health communications.


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