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Korean J Community Nutr. 2019 Dec;24(6):453-464. Korean. Original Article.
Kim HJ , Kim K .
Department of Food and Nutrition, Gangneung-Wonju National University, Gangneung, Korea, Professor.
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea, Professor.


The objective of this study was to examine whether dietary quality varies among different age groups and geographic areas, and whether the difference between geographic areas varies across several age groups in Korea.


The subjects were 14,170 subjects who participated in the 2013–2015 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The dietary quality was assessed using the Korean Health Eating Index (KHEI). Age groups were categorized into six groupings, and areas were categorized into urban and rural according to their administrative districts. The effect of area on the KHEI score was analyzed by multiple linear regression analysis.


The KHEI was the lowest in the 20-30s group (57.7 ± 0.4 score for 20s and 61.2 ± 0.3 score for 30s) and increased with age (p<0.001), showing the highest score in the 60s (67.9 ± 0.3 score), and then decreased again in the 70s and older (64.6 ± 0.3 score). As a result of comparing the KHEI score by area, the urban areas had higher KHEI scores than did the rural areas (63.5 ± 0.2 score for urban area and 62.2 ± 0.4 score for rural area, p=0.002). The difference between areas was dependent on the age group, showing a significant difference for subjects who were aged from 50s and older (p=0.002 for 50s, p<0.001 for 60s and p<0.001 for 70s and older). After adjusting for confounding factors, the effect of area on the KHEI score was only shown for those subjects in the over 60 years old group (p=0.035 for 60s and p<0.001 for 70s and older).


The dietary quality differed according to the age group and geographic area. The dietary quality was lower for younger people than that for older people, and in rural areas compared to that in urban areas, and especially for older adults. The area factor was a very important factor for the dietary quality.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.