169375 Overall Nutritional Quality Index: A consumer empowerment tool

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 10:30 AM

David L. Katz, MD, MPH , Yale School of Medicine, Yale Prevention Research Center, Derby, CT
Valentine Njike, MD, MPH , Yale School of Medicine, Yale Prevention Research Center, Derby, CT
Zubaida Faridi, MD, MPH , Yale School of Medicine, Yale Prevention Research Center, Derby, CT
Lauren Q. Rhee-Baez, MS, RD , Yale School of Medicine, Yale Prevention Research Center, Derby, CT

Research indicates that a majority of consumers do not understand how to use the information provided on food packages. In addition, the introduction of a number of rating systems developed by supermarkets and food manufacturers further contribute to consumer confusion. The development of a standardized, evidence-based, user friendly system that simplifies complex nutritional information for the consumer is urgently needed.

The Yale Prevention Research Center conducted a study to develop a rating system, The Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI), designed to offer consumers a simple and expedient system for assessing the nutritional quality of foods.


The project consisted of the following steps: (1) Review of existing nutritional scoring systems; (2) Development of an algorithm for the classification of food based on their nutritional quality; (3) Content validity testing of the index by comparing the ONQI scores to scores generated by an expert panel of renowned nutritionists on random food lists; and (4) Scoring 15,500 food items and comparing the way the ONQI categorizes foods with the way foods are categorized by other rating systems.


Results indicate a correlation of 0.919 between the ONQI scores and rankings by the expert panel group on a list of more than 1,000 food items.


The ONQI represents a comprehensive nutrient profiling model to compare the healthfulness of foods within and across categories. Combined with a robust consumer education component, the system can provide meaningful guidance to consumers at point of purchase. If successful, the ONQI has the potential to contribute to public health efforts towards adult overweight prevention.

Learning Objectives:
1. Attendees will be able to describe the scientific methodology used to develop the ONQI algorithm. 2. Attendees will be able to list 5 ways in which the ONQI can be used to educate the comsumer about healthy food selections at point of purchase. 3. Attendees will be able to understand how to supplement existing nutrition education and wellness programs for adult weight prevention.

Keywords: Health Education, Dietary Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in and contributed to the development of the ONQI algorithm
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.