Using Skin Carotenoids to Assess Dietary Changes in Students After 1 Academic Year of Participating in the Shaping Healthy Choices Program

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2017 Jan;49(1):73-78.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2016.09.007. Epub 2016 Oct 26.


Objective: To determine whether fourth-grade students participating in the Shaping Healthy Choices Program (SHCP), a school-based nutrition intervention, would change vegetable and carotenoid intake measured by skin carotenoids and dietary intake.

Methods: Single-group pretest-posttest with a self-selected, convenience sample of students (n = 30) participating in the SHCP, which lasted 1 academic year (9 months). Dietary intake of vegetables and carotenoids as measured by Block food frequency questionnaire and skin carotenoids as measured by Raman spectroscopy were collected at the school preintervention and postintervention.

Results: Reported carotenoid intake decreased by 1.5 mg (P = .05) and skin carotenoids decreased by 2,247.9 RRS intensity units (P = .04). Change in reported intake correlated with change in skin carotenoids (r = .43; P = .02).

Conclusions and implications: The reported decrease in vegetable and carotenoid intake was unanticipated; nevertheless, the RRS measurements confirmed this. RRS data can help evaluate changes in fruit and vegetable intake.

Keywords: dietary assessment; garden; nutrition education; school nutrition; skin carotenoids; vegetable.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • California
  • Carotenoids / analysis*
  • Child
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / physiology*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Skin / chemistry*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Vegetables


  • Carotenoids