Skin carotenoid status measured by resonance Raman spectroscopy as a biomarker of fruit and vegetable intake in preschool children.

TitleSkin carotenoid status measured by resonance Raman spectroscopy as a biomarker of fruit and vegetable intake in preschool children.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsScarmo S, Henebery K, Peracchio H, Cartmel B, Lin H, Ermakov IV, Gellermann W, Bernstein PS, Duffy VB, Mayne ST
JournalEuropean journal of clinical nutrition
Date Published2012 May
KeywordsAfrican Continental Ancestry Group, Age Factors, Biological Markers, Body Mass Index, Carotenoids, Child, Preschool, Connecticut, Cross-Sectional Studies, diet, Diet Surveys, Female, Food Preferences, Food Services, Fruit, Hand, Hispanic Americans, Humans, Male, Nutrition Assessment, Nutritional Status, Obesity, Overweight, Parents, Questionnaires, Regression Analysis, Skin, Spectrum Analysis, Raman, Vegetables

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Dietary assessment in children is difficult, suggesting a need to develop more objective biomarkers of intake. Resonance Raman spectroscopy (RRS) is a non-invasive, validated method of measuring carotenoid status in skin as a biomarker of fruit/vegetable intake. The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of using RRS in preschool children, to describe inter-individual variability in skin carotenoid status and to identify factors associated with the biomarker in this population.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 381 economically disadvantaged preschoolers in urban centers in Connecticut (USA). In all, 85.5% were black non-Hispanic or Hispanic/Latino, and 14.1% were obese and 16.9% were overweight by age- and sex-specific body mass index (BMI) percentiles. Children had their skin carotenoid status assessed by RRS in the palm of the hand. Fruit/vegetable consumption was assessed by a brief parent/guardian-completed food frequency screener and a liking survey.

RESULTS: We observed inter-individual variation in RRS values that was nearly normally distributed. In multiple regression analysis, higher carotenoid status, measured by RRS, was positively associated with fruit/vegetable consumption (P=0.02) and fruit/vegetable preference (P<0.01). Lower carotenoid status was observed among younger children, those participating in the US Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and those with greater adiposity (P<0.05 for all).

CONCLUSIONS: We observed wide variability in skin carotenoid status in a population of young children, as assessed by RRS. Parent-reported fruit/vegetable intake and several demographic factors were significantly associated with RRS-measured skin carotenoid status. We recommend further development of this biomarker in children, including evaluating response to controlled interventions.

Alternate JournalEur J Clin Nutr
PubMed ID22434053
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