Date of Award


Degree Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health

Field of Study



School of Public Health

First Advisor

Sejong Bae


LaFontaine, Laura Jean, Dietary Quality in the United States: An Evaluation of the American Diet Using the Mediterranean Diet Index. Master of Public Health (Epidemiology), December 2003, 69 pp., 10 tables, 3 figures, reference list, 92 titles. Mediterranean Diet Index (MDI) score is positively associated with increased longevity in diverse populations. High scores are characterized by high intake of fruit, vegetables, legumes, fish, and grains; low intake of meat and dairy; moderate alcohol intake; and high monounsaturated to saturated fat ratio. Dietary quality 7,772 individuals ages 2 and older in the NHANES 1999-2000 sample was assessed using the MDI. Mean MDI scores were low overall and across all population groups. Highest mean scores (3.03-3.13) were observed in children 2-3 and adult men; lowest scores (2.76-2.77) were observed in adolescents. High scores were associated with foreign-born status, higher education level, increasing age in adults, and decreasing age in children.