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Who Is Eating Their Veggies? †

Faculty of Health and Environmental Studies, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Riddet Institute, Centre of Research Excellence, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Department of Chemical Engineering, Nong Lam University, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Nutrition Society of New Zealand, Napier, New Zealand, 28–29 November 2019.
Proceedings 2019, 37(1), 14;
Published: 13 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of 2019 Annual Meeting of the Nutrition Society of New Zealand)
All food based dietary guidelines recommend a diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits. More than half New Zealand adults and children report consumption of less than the recommended 3 vegetables and 2 fruits each day. The concentration of carotenoids, precursors of vitamin A found in vegetables, fruit, eggs, dairy and liver have a characteristic colour that can be measured in the fat pad of the finger tip by reflection spectroscopy (“Veggie Meter”). Based on serum B carotene measurements a “healthy” veggie meter score (VMscore) is between 280 and 480. The measurement takes less than 5 min. Frequencies of daily intake of vegetables and fruit and weekly intake of pumpkin and carrot, green leafy vegetables, eggs, dairy and liver were determined by questionnaire and a weekly carotenoid food score calculated. Up to August 2019, 97 (63F,34M) adults aged 19 to 85 years had completed measurements. The VMscore ranged from 162 to 790 with a median of 360. One out of five had a score of less than 280. By gender the scores and frequency of consumption of fruit and vegetables were not different. For women VMscore increased with frequency of intake of carotenoid foods (r = 0.49) and green leafy vegetables (r = 0.40) and with age (r = 0.45) but the same pattern was not seen for men. For women and men daily intake of vegetables and weekly intake of green leafy vegetables were positively associated with the VMscore (r = 0.40) but weight and body mass index were negatively associated (r = −0.39). This relatively simple, non-invasive and inexpensive screening test is a viable method to encourage vegetable and fruit intake among participants and to validate questionnaires that measure fruit and vegetable intake. This research is a partnership of Bayer New Zealand Limited, the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation and the Auckland University of Technology.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rush, E.; Jalili-Moghaddam, S.; Diep, T.; Amoah, I. Who Is Eating Their Veggies? Proceedings 2019, 37, 14.

AMA Style

Rush E, Jalili-Moghaddam S, Diep T, Amoah I. Who Is Eating Their Veggies? Proceedings. 2019; 37(1):14.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rush, Elaine, Shabnam Jalili-Moghaddam, Tung Diep, and Isaac Amoah. 2019. "Who Is Eating Their Veggies?" Proceedings 37, no. 1: 14.

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