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Research Project: Food & Agri-Based Challenges to Ensure Nutrient Adequacy & Well-Being in Humans & Genetic Mechanisms Underlying Anti-cancer Activity of Lycopene

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: A non-invasive assessment of skin carotenoid status through reflection spectroscopy is a feasible, reliable and potentially valid measure of fruit and vegetable consumption in a diverse community sample

Author
item Jilcott Pitts, Stephanie - East Carolina University
item Jahns, Lisa
item Wu, Qiang - East Carolina University
item Moran, Nancy - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Bell, Ronny - East Carolina University
item Truesdale, Kimberly - University Of North Carolina
item Laska, Melissa - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: Public Health Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/21/2017
Publication Date: 2/19/2018
Citation: Jilcott Pitts, S.B., Jahns, L.A., Wu, Q., Moran, N., Bell, R.A., Truesdale, K.P., Laska, M.N. 2018. A non-invasive assessment of skin carotenoid status through reflection spectroscopy is a feasible, reliable and potentially valid measure of fruit and vegetable consumption in a diverse community sample. Public Health Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1017/S136898001700430X.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S136898001700430X

Interpretive Summary: Carotenoids are the red, orange, and yellow pigments found in many fruits and vegetables. Consuming colorful fruits and vegetables reliably increases blood concentrations of carotenoids. Skin carotenoid concentrations also have been shown to increase in some populations. Skin carotenoids can be non-invasively measured by the intensity of light reflected off of the skin using a reflectance spectrometer device. Skin carotenoid measures were positively correlated with reported fruit and vegetable and carotenoid intake in a racially diverse group of corner store shoppers (479 people) in Eastern North Carolina. The skin carotenoid measures were also correlated with blood carotenoid concentrations in a smaller group of study participants (30 people). These findings suggest that rapid measurement of skin carotenoids in the community can be used as a proxy measure for carotenoid intake, fruit and vegetable intake, and blood carotenoid concentrations.

Technical Abstract: This study assessed the feasibility, reliability and validity of reflection spectroscopy (RS) to assess skin carotenoids in a racially diverse sample. Study 1 was a cross-sectional study of corner store customers (n= 479) in Eastern North Carolina USA who completed the National Cancer Institute Fruit and Vegetable Screener as well as RS measures. Feasibility was assessed by examining the time it took to complete three RS measures, reliability was assessed by examining the variation between three RS measures, and validity was examined by correlation with self-reported fruit and vegetable consumption. In Study 2, validity was assessed in a smaller sample (n 30) by examining associations between RS measures and dietary carotenoids, fruits and vegetables as calculated from a validated FFQ and plasma carotenoids. It took on average 94.0 s to complete three RS readings per person. The average variation between three readings for each participant was 6.8 %. In Study 2, in models adjusted for age, race and sex, there were statistically significant associations between RS measures and (i) FFQ-estimated carotenoid intake (P<0.0001); (ii) FFQ-estimated fruit and vegetable consumption (P<0.010); and (iii) plasma carotenoids (P<0.0001). RS is a potentially improved method to approximate fruit and vegetable consumption among diverse participants. RS is portable and easy to use in field-based public health nutrition settings. More research is needed to investigate validity and sensitivity in diverse populations.