Title of Work

Reported carotenoid intakes are weakly associated with markers of adiposity in US adults

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

November 2020

Conference Location



Objective: Carotenoids are fat-soluble antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables (F&V). Carotenoid intake is associated with F&V consumption.Studies show an inverse relationship between F&V intake and body mass index (BMI); however, the relationship between carotenoids and markers of adiposity such as BMI, android fat (AF%) and gynoid fat (GF%) in population samples is not well understood. Our objective was to determine the association between reported carotenoid intakes and markers of adiposity in population samples.Methods:Data from NHANES 2003-2006 for 2,563 male and non-pregnant females 20-85 years of age included reported dietary intakes of β-carotene (BC), α-carotene (AC), β-cryptoxanthin (BCX), lycopene (LY), and lutein + zeaxanthin (LZ) and anthropometric data. Log-transformed values were used for carotenoids due to skewing. Associations were estimated by Pearson partial correlation adjusting for age, sex, and ethnicity. Multivariable linear regression estimated AF% and GF% based on reported dietary intake of AC adjusted for age, sex, and ethnicity. Results:The prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) was 30.9% with a mean and SE of 27.8± 0.2 kg/m2. AF% was 38.0±0.3% and GF%, 37.4±0.3%. Means and SEs for BC, AC, BCX, LY, and LZ were 828.8±1.1, 75.9±1.1, 42.9±1.1, 2,565.7±1.1, and 735.1±1.0μg, respectively.Moderate inverse correlations were found between AF% and all carotenoids except LY (p<0.0001). The strongest associations were observed between AF% and AC (r= -0.12, p<0.0001) and BCX (r=-0.11, p<0.0001). Interestingly, only BCX and LZ showed associations to BMI (p<0.05). No significant associations were found between markers of adiposity and LY.For adults of the same age, ethnicity, and sex, each 10 ug increase in reported AC decreased AF% by 0.43% (p=0.005).Conclusions: In a representative sample of US adults, reported intakes of AC and BCX were inversely associated with AF%, independent of total caloric intake.

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