Evaluation of brief dietary questions to estimate vegetable and fruit consumption – using serum carotenoids and red-cell folate Academic Article uri icon


  • To evaluate responses to self-administered brief questions regarding consumption of vegetables and fruit by comparison with blood levels of serum carotenoids and red-cell folate.A cross-sectional study in which participants reported their usual intake of fruit and vegetables in servings per day, and serum levels of five carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin and lycopene) and red-cell folate were measured. Serum carotenoid levels were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography, and red-cell folate by an automated immunoassay system.Between October and December 2000, a sample of 1598 adults aged 25 years and over, from six randomly selected urban centres in Queensland, Australia, were examined as part of a national study conducted to determine the prevalence of diabetes and associated cardiovascular risk factors.Statistically significant (P<0.01) associations with vegetable and fruit intake (categorised into groups: /=4 servings per day) were observed for alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin and red-cell folate. The mean level of these carotenoids and of red-cell folate increased with increasing frequency of reported servings of vegetables and fruit, both before and after adjusting for potential confounding factors. A significant association with lycopene was observed only for vegetable intake before adjusting for confounders.These data indicate that brief questions may be a simple and valuable tool for monitoring vegetable and fruit intake in this population.


  • Coyne, Terry
  • Ibiebele, Torukiri I
  • McNaughton, Sarah
  • Rutishauser, Ingrid HE
  • O'Dea, Kerin
  • Hodge, Allison M
  • McClintock, Christine
  • Findlay, Michael G
  • Lee, Amanda

publication date

  • May 2005