The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are the basis of the nutrition policy for the U.S. government and are
the foundation for all federal nutrition guidance. The Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion developed a tool called the Healthy Eating Index that is used to measure compliance with federal nutrition guidance.
The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion revised the original Healthy Eating Index to reflect the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and developed a new scoring system to evaluate the diet. The new Healthy Eating Index is expressed on a density basis, that is, as amounts per 1,000 calories of intake, to characterize diet quality while controlling for diet quantity.
The National Health Statistics Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found component scores for adults age 20 and older in 2003 to 2004 were below the maximum scores for all of the components except for total grains and meats and beans. The overall Healthy Eating Index score, a measure of the overall quality of the diet, was 57.2 out of a possible 100.
The scores for dark green and orange vegetables and legumes, whole grains and sodium were less than one-half the standard for a maximum score for that component, the study said.