BACKGROUND: Nutrient quality systems, for example the nutrient-rich foods (NRF) index, measure the nutrient quality of individual foods and may be used to assess the nutrient density of the overall diet. It is not yet known whether the NRF index is helpful in weight management. We hypothesize that a nutrient-dense diet is associated with a lower body weight and waist circumference.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of the present study was to examine the association between the NRF index and various measures of anthropometry.
METHODS: This study was carried out in a sample of 2044 men and 2925 women, aged ≥55 years, participating in a community-based prospective cohort study in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The NRF9.3 algorithms were used to estimate the nutrient density of the subjects' diets. Linear regression was used to examine the association between the NRF index scores and body mass index (BMI), body weight, waist circumference, wait-to-hip ratio and waist-to-height ratio.
RESULTS: Subjects with a high NRF9.3 index score had a lower energy intake (EI) as compared to those with low NRF9.3 index score. However, after adjustment for age, gender and other confounders, the NRF9.3 index score as well as the Nutrient Rich 9 index score were positively associated with BMI, body weight, waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio.
CONCLUSIONS: Although subjects with a high NRF9.3 index score had a lower EI than those subjects with a low index score, their BMI, body weight, waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio was higher. The association between nutrient quality and body composition is therefore complex.