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Evaluating the relationship between plasma and skin carotenoids and reported dietary intake in elementary school children to assess fruit and vegetable intake

Lori M. Nguyen, Rachel E. Scherr, Jessica D. Linnell, Igor V. Ermakov, Werner Gellermann, Lisa Jahns, Carl L. Keen, Sheridan Miyamoto, Francene M. Steinberg, Heather M. Young, Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr
Archives of biochemistry and biophysics 2015 v.572 pp. 73-80
Raman spectroscopy, adults, blood plasma, carotenoids, children, elementary students, food frequency questionnaires, fruit consumption, high performance liquid chromatography, nutrition assessment, prediction, skin (animal), vegetable consumption, vegetables
Accurate assessment of dietary intake of children can be challenging due to the limited reliability of current dietary assessment methods. Plasma carotenoid concentration has been used to assess fruit and vegetable intake, but this testing is rarely conducted in school settings in children. Resonance Raman spectroscopy (RRS) is emerging as a useful method to objectively assess fruit and vegetable intake. This methodology has been validated in adults, but limited work has been done in children, particularly in the school setting. The purpose of this research is to further validate the RRS methodology in children. Children (9–12 year) participating in a school-based intervention were recruited. Plasma carotenoids were quantified using HPLC, skin carotenoid status was measured using RRS, and dietary intake of carotenoids was measured with the Block Food Frequency Questionnaire Ages 8–17. Total plasma carotenoid concentrations and skin carotenoid intensities were strongly correlated (r = 0.62, p < 0.001, n = 38). Reported total carotenoid intake correlated with skin carotenoids (r = 0.40, p < 0.0001, n = 128). Skin carotenoid status as measured by RRS can be a strong predictor of plasma carotenoid status and dietary intake of carotenoids in children. RRS may be used as a valid, non-invasive, and useful method to assess fruit and vegetable intakes in this population.