Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type





Nutrition and Food Science

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly Webber


Diet is an important factor in disease prevention and health promotion. According to Global Health, in 2006 four of the top five leading causes of death in Ecuador were heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and hypertensive diseases which are all associated with dietary intake. Knowledge of eating patterns enables the formulation of public policies directed toward health promotion and disease prevention. Studies using indices that measure dietary quality and summarize the main characteristics of healthful eating habits enables the evaluation of possible associations between health determinants and health indicators. Most studies using score-based approaches have generally shown more varied and healthful diets to be associated with higher income, higher education, lower obesity rates and reduced cardiovascular disease mortality. The purpose of this research was to characterize the health practices and diet quality of a low-income population in Quito, Ecuador. A diet quality index (MyPyramid Index) was developed to calculate diet scores for subjects and results show that the mean MPI was 34.1 out of a possible score of 70. Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated using heights and weights recorded. The mean BMI was 27.2 which would indicate that this sample is categorized as being overweight.