Feasibility of skin carotenoids as a biomarker of vegetable intake among Mexican-Origin children in a community setting: A cross-sectional pilot study

Alberto L. Aguilera, Christine P. Stewart, Adela de la Torre, Lucia L. Kaiser


Background and purpose: Studies in adults and children have demonstrated a strong correlation of skin carotenoids with fruit and vegetable (F/V) intake. There are few studies testing the usefulness of this methodology in a community setting. This study aimed to determine the feasibility of resonance Raman spectroscopy (RRS) skin carotenoid intensity scores in young children to assess F/V intake.

Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to capture the RRS skin carotenoid intensity scores using the Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner. The RRS skin carotenoid intensity score ranges from 0 to 70,000+ with increasing scores indicating a higher carotenoid concentration. Children’s dietary intake of F/V was assessed within one-month period using a 26-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and multiple pass 24-hour dietary recalls (24HDRs) administered to the parent of the child. Participants were 51 Mexican-origin children (ages 3-8 years) living in two rural California school districts during July-August 2014. RRS skin carotenoid intensity scores; frequency of fruit and vegetable intake from FFQ; daily servings of fruit and vegetables and carotenoid intake from 24HDR. Spearman correlation was used to determine the correlation between RRS skin carotenoid intensity scores and average 24HDR F/V intake and FFQ F/V intake.

Results: The results of the study demonstrate a significant positive correlation between skin carotenoid levels and parent-reported 24HDR vegetable consumption (r = .41, p = .003) but not with 24HDR fruit, FFQ fruit, or FFQ vegetable consumption.

Conclusion: The use of skin carotenoid measurements may be more indicative of short-term vegetable consumption than overall fruit and vegetable or fruit-only consumption in this population of Mexican-origin children.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jer.v4n1p1


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Journal of Epidemiological Research

ISSN 2377-9306(Print)  ISSN 2377-9330(Online)

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