Neighborhood Deprivation Is Associated with Lower Levels of Serum Carotenoids among Adults Participating in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Jim P. Stimpson, Anita C. Nash, Hyunsu Ju, Karl Eschbach

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Objective: This study tested the hypothesis that neighborhood deprivation will be associated with lower levels of serum carotenoids in comparison with wealthy residential areas. Design: Cross-sectional, nationally representative survey data were used to assess the relationship between neighborhood level socioeconomic status and serum carotenoids. Subjects: Seventeen thousand two participants aged 17 years and older from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were linked with 1990 census data. Main outcome measures: Serum levels of lycopene, β-carotene, α-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, and β-cryptoxanthin. Statistical analysis: Multivariate linear regression was used to model the association of serum carotenoids and neighborhood deprivation, which is a summary index of 11 indicators for tract level socioeconomic status. Adjustments are made for individual level age, sex, years of education, household income, employment, race/ethnicity, body mass index, serum cotinine, alcohol use, physical activity, and serum cholesterol. Results: Multivariate analysis revealed a negative and statistically significant association between high levels of neighborhood deprivation and β-carotene (β=-2.98 μg/dL [-0.06 μmol/L], P=0.00), α-carotene (β=-1.28 μg/dL [-0.02 μmol/L], P=<0.0001), lutein/zeaxanthin (-1.69 μg/dL [-0.03 μmol/L], P=0.00, β-cryptoxanthin (β=-1.34 μg/dL [-0.02 μmol/L], P<0.0001), and total carotenoids (β=-8.20 μg/dL, P=<0.0001). Lycopene was not related to neighborhood deprivation. Adjusted mean levels of carotenoids for high deprivation neighborhoods were lower than neighborhoods with low deprivation: β-carotene=8.72 μg/dL [0.16 μmol/L] vs 20.64 μg/dL [0.38 μmol/L], α-carotene=0.44 μg/dL [0.008 μmol/L] vs 5.56 μg/dL [0.10 μmol/L], lutein/zeaxanthin=13.79 μg/dL [0.24 μmol/L] vs 20.55 μg/dL [0.36 μmol/L], β-cryptoxanthin=4.57 μg/dL [0.08 μmol/L] vs 9.93 μg/dL [0.18 μmol/L], lycopene=22.07 μg/dL [0.41 μmol/L] vs 25.63 μg/dL [0.48 μmol/L], and total=49.56 μg/dL vs 82.36 μg/dL. Conclusions: Neighborhood deprivation was associated with lower serum levels of carotenoids. There was a substantial disparity between low deprivation and high deprivation residential areas with respect to fruit and vegetable intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1895-1902
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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