Diet quality of adolescents in rural Sri Lanka based on the Diet Quality Index-International: findings from the 'Integrating Nutrition Promotion and Rural Development' project
Williams J., Townsend N., Rayner M., Jayawardena R., Katulanda P., Manoharan S., Wickramasinghe K.
Objective The current paper describes methods of evaluating dietary habits of Sri Lankan adolescents based on the Diet Quality Index-International (DQI-I), which has been used in multiple international studies to describe dietary variety, moderation, adequacy and balance. The paper describes the method for calculating DQI-I scores and examines associations between DQI-I scores and dietary intake, and between DQI-I scores and sociodemographic factors.Design The study followed a three-stage cluster randomised sampling method. Dietary intake was collected using a validated FFQ. Estimated micronutrient intakes and number of servings consumed were described according to DQI-I quartiles. DQI-I scores were tabulated according to sociodemographic characteristics. Multilevel modelling was used to examine associations between sociodemographic characteristics and DQI-I scores.Setting Secondary schools in rural Sri Lanka.Participants Adolescents (n 1300) aged 12-18 years attending secondary school in rural Sri Lanka.Results DQI-I scores increased with consumption of fat (% energy), cholesterol (mg/d), energy (kJ/d), protein (% energy), Na (mg), dietary fibre (g), Fe (mg) and Ca (mg), but decreased according to percentage of energy coming from carbohydrates. DQI-I scores were significantly lower among females and students with lower levels of maternal education.Conclusions Policies are needed to increase the availability and affordability of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and high-protein foods, particularly to students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Significant differences in diet quality according to sex, socio-economic status and district suggest there is potential for targeted interventions that aim to increase access to affordable, nutrient-rich foods among these groups.