Didier Brassard, RD MSc PhD (candidate)

Centre Nutrition, santé et société (NUTRISS), Institut sur la nutrition et les aliments fonctionnels (INAF)
Université Laval

I am a registered dietitian since 2014 and I completed a master’s degree in nutrition in 2017 at Université Laval. I am currently a PhD candidate in nutrition also at Université Laval. Dietary assessment instruments, diet quality indices, nutritional epidemiology and statistical modelling of dietary intakes are my fields of interest.

The Healthy Eating Food Index (HEFI-2019): a tool measuring alignment with healthy food choices (“what to eat”) recommendations in Canada’s Food Guide

The Canada’s Food Guide was updated by Health Canada in 2019. For the first time, CFG includes recommendations on both diet quality (“what to eat”) and on specific eating habits or behaviours (“how to eat”). Developing and evaluating a comprehensive index that reflects alignment of food patterns with dietary guidelines is essential for research and surveillance purposes. This presentation will first summarize the process that has led to the development of the HEFI-2019, which includes 10 components that assess alignment with food-based and nutrient-based recommendations in CFG 2019. The process included extensive consultation with experts to define guiding principles, key components of the HEFI-2019 and key evaluation analyses. The presentation will then summarize the construct validity and reliability analyses of the HEFI-2019 conducted using data from the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) Nutrition. Briefly, the HEFI-2019 revealed sufficient variations among Canadians; captured expected differences in diet quality related to sex, age and smoking status; correlated strongly with the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015, another metric of diet quality; and captured multiple dimensions of diet quality. Overall, the psychometric properties of the HEFI-2019 support its use to assess alignment of dietary patterns with recommendations on food choices in CFG 2019 when dietary intake data are collected using 24-hour recalls.