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Ethn Dis. 2000 Spring-Summer;10(2):208-17.

Variations in serum carotenoid concentrations among United States adults by ethnicity and sex.

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Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.


Increased fruit and vegetable intake is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Carotenoids, which occur primarily in fruits and vegetables, have been associated with reduced risk of some chronic diseases. To examine the distribution of serum carotenoid concentrations among US adults by ethnicity and sex, the author used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted from 1988 to 1994. After exclusions, 14,914 participants aged > or =20 years who attended the medical examination clinic had their serum carotenoid concentrations determined. Mexican-American men had higher total concentrations than European Americans and African Americans. In general, European-American participants were characterized by high lycopene but low beta-cryptoxanthin and lutein/zeaxanthin concentrations; African Americans by high lutein/zeaxanthin and low alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin concentrations; and Mexican Americans by high alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lutein/zeaxanthin concentrations. The implications of these different carotenoid concentration patterns for future risk of disease within the ethnic and sex groups remain to be clarified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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