Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health, Physical Education, and Recreation


Julie Gast


Background: Adult studies have found a strong correlation between serum carotenoids and skin carotenoids measured by resonance Raman spectroscopy (RRS). No published studies have examined correlations between skin and serum carotenoids among children. Objectives: (1) To validate skin RRS methodology against serum carotenoid measurements by high-performance liquid chromatography and (2) to determine if RRS skin carotenoids can be used as a valid biomarker of total fruit and vegetable (FV) intake among children. Design: Participants were 45 healthy children age 5-17 who provided 3 blood samples used to assess serum carotenoid concentrations and 3 RRS skin measurements (using a Biophotonic ScannerTM) within a 4 week period. Dietary intake of FV was assessed 3 times within 4 weeks using a 27 item food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) and the ASA24TM-Kids, an automated multiple-pass 24-hour recall (24HDR). Estimates of intake from three FFQ, completed at least 7 days apart, were averaged. Estimates of intake from 24HDR were collected on 2 weekdays and a weekend day and averaged. Results: Levels of skin and serum carotenoids were highly correlated (R2=.63, p<.001). A linear regression model predicted that for every unit increase of total FV from FFQ and total FV as assessed by 24HDR, scanner score was predicted to increase by 3,798 (p=.001) and 3,504 (p=.001), respectively. Similar results were observed for reported high carotenoid vegetables intake. For each milligram of consumed beta-carotene, total carotenoids, and alpha-carotene, there was an increase in scanner score of 3,354 (p=.011), 4,556 (p=.008), and 12,299 (p=.002), respectively. Conclusions: Skin carotenoids measured by RRS were strongly correlated with serum carotenoid levels and were positively associated with estimates of intake from FFQ and ASA24TM-Kids among children age 5-17. Skin carotenoids may be used as biomarker of FV intake among children.