Fruit and vegetable intakes, BMI and skin colour in women: A cross-sectional study (#164)
Background: Higher fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with reduced risk of overweight and obesity. Consuming more brightly coloured fruit and vegetables increases carotenoid intakes, which can accumulate in skin and be expressed as skin yellowness. This cross-sectional study evaluated the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption, skin colour and BMI in Australian women.
Method: Women aged ≥18 years were recruited from the Hunter region, NSW. Usual fruit and vegetable intake was measured with the Australian Eating Survey Food Frequency Questionnaire. Skin colour was measured at nine body locations using a Spectrophotomoter with CIE L*a*b*values recorded and the mean values of L*a*b* calculated across the nine sites. Height and weight measured using standard procedures.Data was analsysed using t-tests and Pearson’s correlation. Participants were categorised into two groups based on their BMI <25 or ≥ 25kg/m2
Results: One hundred and fifty nine women (mean ±SD age 28.8 ±9.9 years, BMI 24±4.4 kg/m2, 29% BM1≥ 25kg/m2 ) participated. Average fruit and vegetable intakes were 2.12 ±1.25 and 5.23 ±2.12 servings/day. Fruit and vegetable intakes were positively correlated with overall b*values (r=0.34 and 0.33, p<0.05) whilst BMI was negatively correlated (r=-0.25, p<0.05). There were no significant differences between BMI groups in daily serves of fruit and vegetables or L* and a* values. The overall b* value which determines skin yellowness and reflects carotenoid intake, was significantly lower (p<0.0001) in those with BMI ≥25 kg/m2.
Conclusion: Higher BMI is associated with lower skin yellowness and carotenoid concentrations but no difference in reported intake of fruit and vegetables. Further studies are required to evaluate whether the difference are due to mis-reported intake or whether those with higher BMI have a greater requirement for carotenoids, with some existing evidence to support the latter.