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Nutrients 2018, 10(1), 11;

Is Skin Coloration Measured by Reflectance Spectroscopy Related to Intake of Nutrient-Dense Foods? A Cross-Sectional Evaluation in Australian Young Adults

School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308, Australia
Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 November 2017 / Revised: 18 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 23 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutraceuticals and the Skin: Roles in Health and Disease)
PDF [244 KB, uploaded 23 December 2017]


The current study examines associations between the dietary intakes of nutrient-dense foods, measured using brief indices and skin coloration, measured using reflectance spectroscopy in young adults. This is a cross-sectional analysis of 148 young Australian males and females (55% female) aged 18 to 25 years. Dietary intake was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire, with responses used to calculate two dietary indices: (i) the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS); and (ii) the Fruit And Vegetable VAriety Score (FAVVA). Skin yellowness was measured at three body locations using reflectance spectroscopy. Associations were assessed using Spearman’s correlation coefficients, regression analysis, and agreement using weighted kappa (Kw). Significant, moderate correlations were found between skin yellowness and diet index scores for the ARFS (ρ = 0.30, p < 0.001) and FAVVA score (ρ = 0.39, p < 0.001). These remained significant after adjustment for confounders (total fat intake, sex, skin lightness) and for agreement based on categorical rankings. Results suggest that measurement of skin coloration by reflectance spectroscopy can be used as an indicator of overall dietary quality and variety in young adults. Further exploration in diverse populations is required. View Full-Text
Keywords: cross-sectional study; carotenoids; skin color; diet quality cross-sectional study; carotenoids; skin color; diet quality
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ashton, L.M.; Pezdirc, K.B.; Hutchesson, M.J.; Rollo, M.E.; Collins, C.E. Is Skin Coloration Measured by Reflectance Spectroscopy Related to Intake of Nutrient-Dense Foods? A Cross-Sectional Evaluation in Australian Young Adults. Nutrients 2018, 10, 11.

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