Healthy Eating Index

Farm-to-Fork Food Stream

Although people do choose what to eat and drink, they can only choose from among foods and beverages that are available to them. Helping people have healthy food choices is an important part of efforts to reduce childhood obesity in America and a goal of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR).

Where do our foods and beverages come from? The trip from farm to fork is like a food stream. Far upstream, the source is the food supply, all the foods that farmers produce. Then the foods go through processing. These foods flow downstream through many outlets before they end up on a person’s plate. Children’s weights are affected by what they eat, as well as how much they move. How does the food stream reach them?

What do we know about the nutritional quality of choices at various points along the food stream? How closely does any given dietary pattern, set of foods, or menu match the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?

Healthy Eating Index logoThe Healthy Eating Index is a scoring metric that can answer these questions. It was developed by scientists at two of NCCOR’s funding partners: the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion; and the National Cancer Institute’s Applied Research Program, part of the National Institutes of Health.


Learn how HEI scores can be applied to actual foods

See the HEI photos.

HEI Photos Page

Watch a video about a study using the Healthy Eating Index



See the HEI-2010 Total and Individual Component Scores for the U.S. Food Supply, 1970-2010.

Healthy Diet and Healthy Eating Index Infographics Series

Infographic 11Here are the elements of a healthy diet.
Infographic 22Eating a healthy diet depends on having a healthy food supply.
Infographic 33How does our food supply measure up?
Infographic 44What would we need to do to have a healthy food supply?