Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Food Science and Nutrition


Food Science and Nutrition


Kari Pilolla


Few studies have investigated the relationship between diet quality and health-related quality of life (HRQOL), especially in the older adult population that is most at risk for poor diet and health. Self-perceived HRQOL is a more powerful predictor of morbidity and mortality than objective measures of health. The aim of this thesis was to examine the association between nutrition-related factors (especially diet quality) and HRQOL in community-dwelling older adults aged 60 and above. This research used cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 cycles to select and include diet quality variables, meal-related variables, and other relevant covariates in regression models, which predicted HRQOL measures in a nationally representative sample of older adults (n=3,692). The analysis of the association between diet quality and HRQOL and the adjustment for covariates was performed with logistic regression using SAS (Statistical Analysis Software), version 9.4. All analyses were weighted using appropriate NHANES weights so that findings were nationally representative. Compared to older adults in the lowest quartile for Healthy-Eating Index (HEI) scores, older adults in the highest quartile for HEI scores had 2.4 times greater odds of good or better HRQOL compared with fair or poor HRQOL (95% CI 1.55 to 3.56, p